Sunday, May 31, 2015

MISC. MANGA, *Warrior Nun Areala

The 90s were a boom for what was called the "Bad Girl" fad, which were anti-heroines that were sexed up to the point of being Playboy models in leather and spandex. One of the major players in this was the manga-styled American comic was Warrior Nun Areala, the title character of which wasn't technically a "bad girl" and more like a cybernetic nun that fought demons, although her extended cast had a few "bad girl" candidates that would get their own titles. This was created by Ninja High School creator Ben Dunn, and was actually a pseudo-spinoff of the title too as its in the same universe of that and Gold Digger.

Sister Shannon Masters is part of the Vatican's special task force of demon slayers called Warrior Nuns, the other faction is a group of Magic Priests who are the only ones allowed to use actual magic. The Warrior Nuns use special weapons and artifacts like the God Armor to combat the forces of Hell. Shannon is ordered to take over the position of Warrior Nun in New York City, which her first assignment allows her to inherit the mantle of "Areala", the first Warrior Nun who was a Sister in the Middle Ages given the powers of a valkyrie that turned to the side of the Christian god. Now referred to usually just Areala, she continuously has to fend off satanic cults, neo-Nazis, rogue demons, and more. Her recurring cast includes former Warrior Nun-turned-Barb Wire wannabe Shotgun Mary, demon princess Lillith, a Magical Priest known as Father Crowe, plus former superheroes originally seen in Ninja High School like Tomorrow Man and Knight Hunter, a bunch of which form their own group called the Redeemers. Areala also has several crossovers with other comic characters like Glory, Scorpio Rose, Razor, and Cheetah from Gold Digger. There's also a lot of expansion given to the other Warrior Nuns throughout history in titles like Warrior Nun: Black And White, plus the original valkrie Areala who started the trend.

There have been numerous mini-series, ongoing series, one-shot specials, spinoffs, team-ups, pin-up collections, and a genuine Japanese manga short. Characters like Shotgun Mary and Lillith would get their own titles, plus the whole cast would get a re-launch in a one-shot titled Warrior Nun: Lazarus which was supposed branch off into it's own series. So far, the whole Warrior Nun franchise has been on hold, but still holds potential as there aren't currently too many superheroes who actually act as agents for the Christian God, although not having it be a cheesy PSA-spewing Bibleman ripoff. There was a planned OVA in the late 90s with even a pilot done by anime studio Sunrise, but so far nothing has come from it. Check out at least the original 3-episode mini-series, even if you have to get every one of the variant covers!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy

The second OVA special featuring the "Lovely Angels" was this 1990 one-shot done as sort of a farewell to the original Dirty Pair as it was the last anime done(so far)featuring the non-Flash version of the mid-90s. This was handled through Sunrise, and directed by Toshifumi Takizawa who also worked on the original TV series, so this was treated with more care than the previous Affair On Nolandia OVA.

Kei and Yuri are assigned to look for a space liner that exploded, but was suspected to have been targeted by nefarious forces because a scientist and his family were on board. They go from one government rep to another, but realize that the scientist along with his wife and daughter were kidnapped by a rival planet's government to develop a new energy source for them. The Dirty Pair ally with Dick, the scientist's father-in-law, and storm the bad guys' secret space base, ending in a battle right out of Star Wars, which would make for a decent "Dirty Pair vs. The Empire" fandub.

The animation for this got an upgrade since the 10-episode OVA series. This has been released three times, once on dubbed VHS through Streamline Pictures which was one of the first Dirty Pair anime released in the States, then again on DVD through ADV Films with an all new dub, and then recently through Right Stuf which includes both English dubs. It's probably worth getting the Right Stuf version titled Dirty Pair: Features to experience the full fandom fun if you're really interested in it.

Can't get Beyond Thunderdome


The New Thor Corps

Fry's not sure

The meme is good. It is you who sucks. Now shut the fuck up!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ANI-MOVIES, *Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis

Meant to be a follow up to Justice League: War, this was based on the crossover event between the New 52 incarnations of Justice League and Aquaman comics. Where as in War, Aquaman was replaced by Shazam, this animated movie acts as an intro of Aquaman into the League, and his origin story, making it the first time outside of a few failed TV pilots that the character's backstory has even been fully fleshed out. Directed by Ethan Spaulding, who worked on the fantastic Thundercats reboot, this production features most of the cast from War, but Nathan Fillion makes a grand comeback as Green Lantern.

Set some months after Darkseid's invasion of Earth, the Justice League is called in to investigate an attack on a navy submarine in one of the deepest areas in the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, a young lighthouse keeper named Arthur Curry is grieving over the loss of his recently departed father, when he's suddenly attacked by assassins from Atlantis, the mythical underwater city from where Arthur's mother, Queen Atlanna, who sent her agent Mera to watch over him. Mera rescues Arthur from the assassins, and brings him to an underwater safehouse. The Atlantean assassins were sent by Prince Orm, Arthur's younger half-brother who feels more entitled to the "throne of Atlantis" since he's fully Atlantean. Orm teams up with the scavenger known as Black Manta who acts as Atlantis' rep to the surface world, and the two of them plot to assassinate Atlanna and make it look like humanity attacked Atlantis. After Arthur learns about his mother, he meets up with the Justice League and heads to Atlantis, only to find Atlanna is dead, to which Orm proudly confesses to. He uses a magical royal trident to take down Arthur, Mera, and half of the League(including Superman and Wonder Woman who can somehow breathe underwater), then leaves them to be eaten by a giant Cthulu-type sea monster. The League gets free and Superman uppercuts Cthulu, while Orm leads an Atlantean army to Metrolpolis. While he easily could've just flooded the city(like he did in the comics)Orm has his laser-toting troops invade with the Justice League surprisingly all getting floored by him. Arthur quickly subdues Black Manta via a scene strait out of Deep Blue Sea, he however also succumbs to Orm's power. But Cyborg uses his recording of Orm's confession of killing his own mother, which makes the Atlantean forces switch sides to accepting Arthur as their true king. After assuming the throne, Arthur joins the League and is given the name "Aquaman" since it was such a hit online. The movie ends with a teaser for the next film of Lex Luthor meeting up with Orm in prison, possibly to start his own Legion of Doom.

Throne Of Atlantis works as a pretty good Justice League movie as you see the team come together more, although more emphasis was shown on Aquaman's origin, as well as Cyborg's adjustment to life as being half-machine. There's some slightly thrown in subplots involving Superman and Wonder Woman beginning a romance, plus a deleted scene with Nightwing and Robin(Damian Wayne)which leads into Batman Vs. Robin. The quality in production is slightly better since War, plus the fight choreography got a serious boosting. It's a little hard to see one on its own without having check out War before this, but not totally necessary to enjoy it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

ANI-MOVIES, *Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Not meant to be done as a sequal to Green Lantern: First Flight, the Emerald Knights animated movie is an anthology of several different members of the GL Corps with an overall plot bringing the ring-slingers together. No relation to the similarly titled story arc from the comics, this does adapt some stories from the DC Universe. Bruce Timm is back to produce with several different writers like Geoff Jones and Dave Gibbons to do the various story segments.

A dying Green Lantern member reports to the Guardians of the Universe(no relation to Marvel's team)that the exiled Guardian, Krona, has returned as a giant anti-matter being the size of Unicron, and is leading an army of shadow creatures out of the sun of GL homeworld Oa to conquer to consume the universe. Corp newbie Arisia joins the other Lanterns in conference with the Guardians about their plans to ready for Krona, and resident hero Hal Jordan tells her the story of the First Lantern. This story was given a New 52 retcon, but here the First Lantern is one of the first four beings given the rings from the Guardians that are sent out to fight an invading armada, and the First named Avra is the original Lantern to use a ring to create energy constructs. The next story is of fan favorite's Kilowog when he first went through the Corps boot camp and rose to become the GL drill sergeant. Following that we learn of the origin of Laira, a literal warrior princess who after becoming a Green Lantern returns to her home planet to find it has turned into a military empire guilty of intergalactic war crimes, and she has to fight her father for control of their world. Then, Hal tells Arisia why "Mogo doesn't socialize" in a tale of Bolphunga the Unrelenting(brilliantly voiced by Rowdy Piper!)is a space warrior searching for the greatest fighters in the galaxy, and his last prey is the legendary Green Lantern known as Mogo, which if you didn't know who he was before seeing this movie would totally spoil it. After a quick attack by some of Krona's shadow forces, Arisia recovers as Sinestro(who is still a Green Lantern in this story)tells her of Abin Sur, the one who originally bore the ring that would later go to Hal Jordan. The final act is a stunning space battle between the remaining members of the Corps against Krona who since he's made of anti-matter, the GL's just chuck the entire planet of Oa at him to extinguish him with an equal amount of matter.

This makes for a great intro to the Green Lantern Corps., and a must see before embarking checking out Green Lantern: The Animated Series. It also makes for a way better movie than the what the Green Lantern live-action movie sorely lacked. There is some exceptionally stellar animation for this production, especially in the space battles. Plus, it's great to finally have Nathan Fillion in his first official time as Hal Jordan. Emerald Knights should be a permanent keeper for anyone who enjoys a great cosmic odyssey!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dammit Thor! You had one line to say in the movie! ONE...LINE...!

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Ruin Explorers

Otherwise known as Fam & Ihrie, This 4-episode OVA series is based on a fantasy manga created by Xenogears designer Kunihiko Tanaka has been released on so far two VHS chapters, a regular DVD collection, an ADV Essential Anime DVD, and recently through ADV's prodigal company Maiden Japan.

Set in Tolkien-esque world, there existed civilizations that used mighty magic laying waste to most of humanity. What's left are treasure hunters looking for this forbidden magic who are known as Ruin Explorers(because Tomb Raider was taken). The duo of swordsgirl Ihrie and her Wiccan catgirl partner Fam seek out this "Ultimate Power". Ihrie mostly wants the power to break the curse of being turned into a mouse everytime she uses magic, and Fam is along because Ihrie needs her to use magic since she can't, even though Fam's clumsiness usually bungles things up. Also after the Ultimate Power is the rival sorceress Rasha and buff swordsman Migel, along with the scheming merchant Galuff, who all join forces with Fam and Ihrie along with the exiled Prince Lyle to beat the evil priest Rugudorull to the Ultimate Power who plans to use it to conquer-or-destroy the world. This takes them on several temples to raid, a pirate adventure, and a dark final confrontation with Rugudorull.

This was a fine production, with quality animation and an epic soundtrack. The dub is fair, even though it's more tolerable in the original Japanese language. If you like comic fantasy on the level of Slayers and Sorcerer Hunters, than this is one for the RPG fanatics to enjoy.

Must get to gynecologist!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Scarlet Witch needs to be in JAIL!

MISC. MANGA, *World War Kaiju

Just after the 2014 Godzilla remake came out, 01 Publishing released this first of a reportedly ongoing series. World War Kaiju is an American graphic novel taking place in an alternate history where Kaiju monsters are all over the place. This was written by cyberpunk author Josh Finney, and drawn by fantasy/horror illustrator Patrick McEvoy done with photo-realistic artwork in the style of Alex Ross.

The majority of the story involves a former CIA agent Hampton pouring out his life story to an underground journalist named Keegan. In this alternate timeline, America won WWII against Japan by instead of using atomic bombs, they used their own homegrown fire-breathing giant reptile Fat Man. American scientist had somehow sprung life from crystals found under the Earth into colossal monsters referred to as Kaiju. After WWII, there begins a cold war between the world's superpowers as other nations begin to create their own kaiju. While America maintained superiority with Fat Man and other kaiju reserves, there were other incidents involving self-proclaimed Martians, and alien pixies acting as ambassadors for a giant flying insect imposing itself as the "guardian of the Earth". This and other monsters like titanic carnivorous rabbits start popping up as a result of this new instant kaiju mineral. So the U.S. government set up the Kaiju Science Taskforce which keeps track of all the kaiju outbreaks, but President Eisenhower doesn't totally trust them, so he sends in Agent Hampton to keep tabs on them and sabotage them if the need arises. Hampton tells all this to Keegan, and refers to an incredibly enigmatic Carl Sagan for more insight. At some point in this history, giant robots are deployed to confront the kaiju, but this is to be handled in a future volume.

World War Kaiju acts a good X-Files scenario with a Destroy All Monsters backdrop. The artwork is really good, and varies depending on the period of history it takes place in. The only real weird thing is there are several parts where Hampton and Keegan's dialogue is shown as a script. There's also a list of the different kinds of Kaiju and their origins in the back of the first volume. Fans of Pacific Rim and classic Gamera will get a kick out of it!