Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Piece (Wan pîsu) (Seasons Two, Three, & Four)

Having gotten to the start of episode 131 of One Piece earlier this week, I'm taking a brief hiatus so I can catch up on my Naruto Shippuden. On the first of February I will resume my One Piece journey, but for now I have about three seasons of One Piece to blog about. Rather than making separate posts for each one I've decided to combine since this series is so long. A post per season would just be overkill.

Although the first season contained 62 episodes and multiple story arcs the second season only contains fourteen episodes and three and a half story arcs. The first one we come to is the conclusion of the Reverse Mountain arc which was a two episode arc in the first place. After that we have episodes 64-67 for the Whiskey Peak arc. This arc provides a lot of the set up for the Alabasta arc that takes place later on in season four so it's certainly worth paying attention to. The fight between Luffy and Zoro is also worth paying attention to simply because... Well, who hasn't wanted to see Luffy and Zoro fight? We also get introduced to another member of the Straw Hats... although you may not believe who. Hint: it's a villain. 

Episodes 68 and 69 are a side story that tell us about Coby and Helmeppo. Not sure if you remember them, but we met them way back during the earliest episodes of One Piece. So it's cool to revisit them. 

Episodes 70-77 bring us to the Little Garden arc and shows an island where two giants have been fighting for a hundred some odd years. That one was really cool even though Mr. 3 was kind of lame. Although for some odd reason Mr. 2 seemed kind of cool to me. Yeah... I don't know what the hell is going on with that, either. 

While the second season isn't quite as cool as the Arlong Park arc it is at least filler-free. 

Season three consists of episodes 78-92. After their adventures on Little Garden the Straw Hat crew journeys to Drum Island in search of a doctor for Nami and encounter the Wapol pirates. This arc introduces the next member of the Straw Hat pirate gang so that's certainly a reason to watch this one. 

Episode 92 actually starts off the Alabasta arc that resides in season four. 

The Alabasta arc consists of episodes 92-130 and all but episode 92 make up the fourth season. If there's ever a reason you need to be reminded of why One Piece is fantastic then the Alabasta arc is a pretty damn good reason. It's not without its flaws, though. Episodes 93, 98, 99, 101, and 102 are all filler. These filler episodes really do bring the Alabasta arc to a screeching halt while it is supposed to be setting up and building the suspense. 

My advice is to either skip through the filler episodes or just force yourself through them because the rest of Alabasta is really, really good. This arc also introduces us to Luffy's brother Ace and skipping the filler makes things interesting because the Ace takes his leave of his brother during a filler episode. At the end of 102, I believe. In the manga he actually took his leave of the Straw Hats sooner. So if you skip the filler just keep that in mind. In episode 100 he's there, but in 103 he's not. 

The end of the Alabasta arc introduces us to yet another Straw hat pirate and this character in particular is one you probably won't guess unless someone has already spoiled it for you. 

All in all, I can't wait to resume the series, but episodes 131-143 are all filler and I'm not sure if I can sit through all of that. I might just skip it. I'll think about it. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Depraved 2 by Bryan Smith

It is indeed a cold day in Hell. Quite literally. It's sleeting outside and I am confining myself to the comfy inside of my room. I've got Tool's Lateralus blasting (which is odd because I'm rarely in a mood for Tool) and I've decided it's high time to do some blogging about books and such. One book I'd like to talk about (I won't say review because I'm still reading it) is Bryan Smith's Depraved 2. Hence my rather brilliant post title. I thought it up all by myself. 

I am a fan of Bryan Smith. I have posted about his books Kayla and the Devil, Depraved, and The Killing Kind and clicking on those titles will tell you whatever fantastic things I had to say about them. I also listed him on my list of favorite authors (found here... although that list probably would be changed a bit if I made it again today... with Smith rising a bit higher up) so when Depraved 2 came out in Kindle format I downloaded it immediately and I slowly but surely have been making my way through it.

I've been reading a lot of translated Japanese novels lately so maybe that's why I find Depraved 2 to be such a breath of fresh air. Or maybe it's just because this book seems to be pretty darn good. The novel certainly isn't for the weak of stomach. Of course, you'd know that if you had read the first one. If you haven't then I recommend you do so unless you are one of those weird types that reads sequels before the originals. 

This novel returns us to the redneck backwoods cannibal town of Hopkins Bend and reintroduces us to a familiar character or two. Or, more accurately, I can remember at least one of them, but it's been a year since I read the first one so if there are any other characters of importance from the first one I can't really remember. 

There are a few different narratives going on, but that's the same way the first book was. So far the main characters are Jessica Sloan (rom the first book), Sienna Baker, and Daphne. At this point I'm not sure who is the... ahem, less depraved character of the bunch. Not quite sure if I have a favorite character or not yet, but they are all interesting and I don't prefer one of the narratives to the other as I have with some books by some authors in the past. Everything feels like it is being delivered on an even keel with enough time being devoted to each character to allow for growth. Although it's not the kind of character growth that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Anyway, if you like things wet and gooey and cannibal-y then Bryan Smith's Depraved 2 will hit the spot. You could do worse than to buy it here

Sunday, January 26, 2014

AC/DC from Worst to First

I haven't done a music post in a while. My last music post might very well have been my Beatles Worst to First list. Well, I've decided that I need to do another cool music post. I just couldn't decide what to write about in terms of music for a while. I got tons of ideas and suggestions (and lord knows I still need to finish my Big Four Worst to First list), but I just haven't been in a hurry to get to any of them. I really want to do an Alice Cooper list as well as a Motorhead (and I will eventually), but there's one band that I need to do first. That band is AC/DC.

AC/DC isn't my favorite band ever (that's Black Sabbath), but they are up in my top ten. As far as the AC/DC singers are concerned I like both the Brian Johnson and Bon Scott eras, but for me Brian Johnson is the singer for AC/DC (because if Bon was then that'd be really interesting seeing as how he's kinda dead) and I think he can pull off singing all of the Bon stuff just fine. Had Bon not passed away way back in 1980 then I think it would be fascinating to see how AC/DC would be viewed today and what they would be up to.

As it is, I don't think any AC/DC fan legitimately believes that AC/DC made a mistake by carrying on with a different singer. I mean, I kinda feel sorry for the guy that goes, "I can't believe that they banded together and released one of the greatest albums in rock history after enduring such tragedy. Bon deserved better." Although I sometimes wonder what would have happened if AC/DC had gone the Black Sabbath route and picked up Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, or Ronnie Dio. I mean, wouldn't that just be weird?

14. Stiff Upper Lip - I like to call this the "Meh" album. That's not because I dislike it because I really don't dislike any AC/DC album. In fact, I still have the Stiff Upper Lip binder I had through most of high school (bear in mind that I didn't start high school until five years after this album's release). I do think this album is a little bit dry, though. There are a few decent rockers on here like Safe in New York City and the title track, but overall it doesn't grab me that much. I have to be in a certain mood to listen to all of Stiff Upper Lip. One of those, "Eh, I've heard all of the popular stuff a few too many times so what else is there to listen to?" kind of moods.

Stiff Upper Lip 3:34
Meltdown 3:41
House of Jazz 3:56
Hold Me Back 3:59
Safe in New York City 3:59
Can't Stand Still 3:41
Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll 4:02
Satellite Blues 3:47
Damned 3:52
Come and Get It 4:02
All Screwed Up 4:36
Give It Up 3:54

Tour Edition Bonus Disc 
Cyberspace (Non LP Track) 2:59
Back in Black (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996) 3:41
Hard as a Rock (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996) 4:51
Ballbreaker (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996) 4:41
Whole Lotta Rosie (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996) 5:27
Let There Be Rock (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996) 11:53
Stiff Upper Lip (Music video) 3:50
Safe in New York City (Music video) 4:01
Satellite Blues (Music video) 3:55

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson

13. Flick of the Switch - Coming off three consecutive massively successful albums, you gotta figure that there'd be an inevitable letdown on the horizon. I'm not sure if you'd call Flick of the Switch a letdown, but it does lack the big hit(s) that made Highway to Hell, Back in Black, and For Those About to Rock We Salute You household names. However, the album is a consistent rocker and not too much of a step back from their previous material.

Rising Power 3:43
This House Is on Fire 3:23
Flick of the Switch 3:13
Nervous Shakedown 4:27
Landslide 3:57
Guns for Hire 3:24
Deep in the Hole 3:19
Bedlam in Belgium 3:52
Badlands 3:38
Brain Shake 4:00

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson

12. Fly on the Wall - Despite Brian Johnson's barely audible vocals at times, I really like the songs on this album. The production could have been a lot better, but there are some good songs to be found. The most well known are Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations, but one song I like in particular is the title track. AC/DC have always been rather good at writing title tracks.

Fly on the Wall 3:44
Shake Your Foundations 4:10
First Blood 3:46
Danger 4:22
Sink the Pink 4:15
Playing With Girls 3:44
Stand Up 3:53
Hell or High Water 4:32
Back in Business 4:24
Send for the Man 3:36

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Simon Wright, Brian Johnson

11. Blow Up Your Video - A few AC/DC fans I know consider this to be AC/DC's worst album ever. I'm not quite sure if that is the general consensus or not because, as I said, AC/DC isn't really my favorite band. I can't really debate AC/DC like I could Black Sabbath or even Ozzy Osbourne or Deep Purple. However, I have ears and my ears tell me that Blow Up Your Video is a decent album with two really, really good songs (Heatseeker and That's the Way I Wanna Rock n' Roll). One thing that I think would have boosted this album's popularity (in general) would have been the inclusion of the song Who Made Who. Something else I think would have made a difference would have been a different name for the album. How about Blow Up Your Blu-ray? Or maybe Blow Up Your Netflix? Oh, that's right, those didn't exist back then.

Heatseeker 3:50
That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll 3:45
Meanstreak 4:08
Go Zone 4:26
Kissin' Dynamite 3:58
Nick of Time 4:16
Some Sin for Nuthin' 4:11
Ruff Stuff 4:28
Two's Up 5:19
This Means War 4:21

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Simon Wright, Brian Johnson

10. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - The States didn't get a hold of this album until 1981. Talk about getting there late to the party. And for some odd reason the order of the tracks on the album as well as the appearance of certain tracks themselves were mangled with. I really hate that. Rock in Peace didn't see international release until Backtracks. That's some serious what the fuck right there. At the very least Problem Child could have been taken off of the States version because everyone had heard it on Let There Be Rock by 1981. And ironically enough Problem Child wasn't originally released on Let There Be Rock anyway since the song had originally appeared on Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Confused yet? So this is a good album, but apparently it is sybil. Or maybe the international version is just plain butchered. Yeah, let's go with that last option.

International cover (This and Black Sabbath's Technical Ecstasy were not Hypgnosis strongest album covers)
Australian cover

Crappy International release:
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 3:52
Love at First Feel 3:12
Big Balls 2:38
Rocker 2:50
Problem Child 5:46
There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' 3:18
Ain't No Fun (Waiting 'Round to Be a Millionaire) 6:54
Ride On 5:53
Squealer 5:10

Australian release: 
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 4:13
Ain't No Fun (Waiting 'Round to Be a Millionaire) 7:31
There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' 3:17
Problem Child 5:46
Squealer 5:18
Big Balls 2:40
R.I.P. (Rock in Peace) 3:36
Ride On 5:53
Jailbreak 4:41

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Mark Evans, Phil Rudd, Bon Scott

09. Powerage - If there is a "dark horse" of the Bon Scott era then I think you could make a case for that to be Powerage. While it does feature the concert favorite Sin City it doesn't really have that "radio classic" on it. However, it does feature a number of classic numbers like Rock n' Roll Damnation, Riff Raff, and Down Payment Blues

Rock 'n' Roll Damnation 3:37
Down Payment Blues 6:03
Gimme a Bullet 3:21
Riff Raff 5:11
Sin City 4:45
What's Next to the Moon 3:31
Gone Shootin' 5:05
Up to My Neck in You 4:13
Kicked in the Teeth 3:53

European version:
Rock 'n' Roll Damnation 3:06
Gimme a Bullet 3:20
Down Payment Blues 5:40
Gone Shootin' 5:22
Riff Raff 5:14
Sin City 4:45
Up to My Neck in You 4:12
What's Next to the Moon 3:42
Cold Hearted Man 3:32
Kicked in the Teeth 3:58

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Bon Scott.

08. For Those About to Rock We Salute You - It's odd that Back in Black, one of the biggest selling albums of all time, couldn't hit number one. I mean, there are times during the second half of this album that just doesn't seem to carry the momentum of the first half. Perhaps the arena rock production brought on by Mutt Lange that made them so popular was finally wearing thin or maybe it's just something else like songwriting not quite being as up to snuff. From an objective standpoint this album is a typical AC/DC album and not much different than any other AC/DC album, but from the standpoint of my ears I just don't view this album as being in the same league as Back in Black or Highway to Hell or even The Razors Edge. I suppose it was just a part of AC/DC fervor at the time that boosted this album to number one and I certainly can't blame anyone for that, but I wonder just how many people view this album as a letdown. 

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) 5:44
Put the Finger on You 3:25
Let's Get It Up 3:54
Inject the Venom 3:30 
Snowballed 3:23 
Evil Walks 4:23
C.O.D. 3:19
Breaking the Rules 4:23
Night of the Long Knives 3:25
Spellbound 4:30

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson

07. Let There Be Rock - There is a reason as to why this album got rearranged for its appearance in the States as well as the rest of the world. This reason is very important because it concerns crabs. Yeah, that's right, I said "crabs." Atlantic Records got cold feet when it came to the song Crabsody in Blue and replaced it with Problem Child because of the racy subject matter. What kind of throws me off with this racy subject matter talk is that the song Go Down was considered perfectly legit. I don't get it. Song-changing bullshit aside, I do like this album. Although I don't really consider it a classic and title song does sort of leave me wanting. I know Let There Be Rock is popular concert piece, but I'm already spoiled enough by the studio version and don't really need the typical fifteen minute version. But, fuck, it's AC/DC so I can't complain that much and listening to Angus play a five minute guitar solo isn't the worst thing that can happen.

International cover
Australian cover
Australia (and original international vinyl):
Go Down (5:20 for vinyl) 5:33 
Dog Eat Dog 3:35 
Let There Be Rock 6:07 
Bad Boy Boogie 4:28 
Overdose 6:09 
Crabsody in Blue 4:45 
Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be 4:15 
Whole Lotta Rosie 5:22 

Go Down (5:18 for vinyl) 5:31 
Dog Eat Dog 3:34 
Let There Be Rock 6:06 
Bad Boy Boogie 4:27 
Problem Child 5:24 
Overdose 6:09 
Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be (4:21 for vinyl) 4:14 
Whole Lotta Rosie 5:24 

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Mark Evans, Phil Rudd, Bon Scott

06. The Razors Edge - Containing one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time, The Razors Edge is arguably one of AC/DC's strongest albums to date. Well, maybe you will argue, but I will go ahead and say that it is one of their best. Aside from being released only one day before my birth there are a lot of other things that are good about this album. We all know the songs: Thunderstruck, Moneytalks, Are You Ready, Fire Your Guns, and the killer title track. This album is definitely top-heavy with the hits. The further into the album you go the more the quality drops off just a little bit, but If You Dare and Shot of Love are definitely great rock jams. The rest, while not trying to sound insulting about it, are more or less standard AC/DC fare. That's not a bad thing, though. Remember: There's no such thing as a bad AC/DC song. 

Thunderstruck 4:52
Fire Your Guns 2:53
Moneytalks 3:48
The Razors Edge 4:22
Mistress for Christmas 3:59
Rock Your Heart Out 4:06
Are You Ready 4:10
Got You by the Balls 4:30
Shot of Love 3:56
Let's Make It 3:32
Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck 3:13
If You Dare 3:08

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Chris Slade, Brian Johnson

05. Ballbreaker - I don't know if I'm odd for ranking this album up so high (well, yeah, I'm odd, but that doesn't really mean I'm odd for solely this reason) or if this album is really, really good and I'm of the few who noticed. This Rick Rubin-produced modern (read: younger than I am) day masterpiece is AC/DC at possibly their angriest and darkest. The Furor, Burnin' Alive, and Hail Caesar are some of AC/DC's few not-so-lighthearted rock tracks. The latter is another example of Angus Young's fascination with ancient Greece, but The Furor and Burnin' Alive are a little bit more vague in terms of their meaning. Certainly Burnin' Alive is the closest that AC/DC have ever been to entering the "political realm." Lyrical meanings aside, Ballbreaker is a perfectly logical and stripped down followup to The Razors Edge. The sound is leaner and bluesier than on The Razors Edge, but the songwriting is tighter and the album is more consistent. There's no radio hit quite like Thunderstruck, but when the album is solid like this (as well as boasting a song called Cover You in Oil) there doesn't need to be one.

Hard as a Rock 4:31
Cover You in Oil 4:32
The Furor 4:10
Boogie Man 4:07
The Honey Roll 5:34
Burnin' Alive 5:05
Hail Caesar 5:14
Love Bomb 3:14
Caught With Your Pants Down 4:14
Whiskey on the Rocks 4:35
Ballbreaker 4:31

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson

04. Black Ice - 2008. It doesn't seem fair that their last album was six years ago. It sure as hell doesn't feel like that long ago, either. It seems even more mind-boggling when you consider that it was an eight year gap between Stiff Upper Lip and Black Ice. Lord only knows how long it will be until AC/DC releases their next album. Despite the insane gap of years between albums I think we can at least be grateful that this album was pretty kickass. I think this contains some of AC/DC's best work and I hope my ranking reflects that. Rock 'n' Roll Train, Big Jack, War Machine, and the insanely good Anything Goes belong in the pantheon of all-time AC/DC great songs. Other songs that I really dig in particular are Decibel, Stormy May Day (featuring Angus's only foray into slide guitar work), and Spoilin' for a Fight

Rock 'n' Roll Train 4:21
Skies on Fire 3:34
Big Jack 3:57
Anything Goes 3:22
War Machine 3:09
Smash 'n' Grab 4:06
Spoilin' for a Fight 3:17
Wheels 3:28
Decibel 3:34
Stormy May Day 3:10
She Likes Rock 'n' Roll 3:53
Money Made 4:15
Rock 'n' Roll Dream 4:41
Rocking All the Way 3:22
Black Ice 3:25

Lineup; Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson

03. High Voltage - It's essentially a compilation of AC/DC first two Australian album High Voltage and T.N.T., but it makes for a fitting international debut. It could arguably be one of the best debut albums ever if not for the fact that it wasn't really a debut album at all. 

International cover
European cover (and you thought Black Sabbath album covers were bad)
It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) 5:01
Rock 'n' Roll Singer 5:04
The Jack 5:52
Live Wire 5:50
T.N.T. 3:34
Can I Sit Next to You Girl 4:12
Little Lover 5:37
She's Got Balls 4:51
High Voltage 4:03

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Mark Evans, Phil Rudd, Bon Scott

02. Back in Black - You know the songs. You know the circumstances. Perhaps the only question as to why this album is only number two is something that needs to be explained. I've listened to this album lots of times and do maintain that it is one of the greatest rocks albums of all time, but there is one released by this very same band that is slightly better. I don't really have a better reason than that. 

Hells Bells 5:10
Shoot to Thrill 5:17
What Do You Do for Money Honey 3:33
Given the Dog a Bone 3:30
Let Me Put My Love Into You 4:16
Back in Black 4:14
You Shook Me All Night Long 3:30
Have a Drink on Me 3:57
Shake a Leg 4:06
Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution 4:15

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Brian Johnson

01. Highway to Hell - Even if you skip over the very well-known title track and listen to the rest of the album I think you'll still be impressed by just how damn good this album is. The title track just serves as the icing on the cake. Walk All Over You, Touch Too Much, Girls Got Rhythm, Shot Down in Flames, If You Want Blood (You've Got It)... There isn't a weak point on this album. Perhaps I am just batty for saying this is AC/DC's best album, but I do remember an episode of That Metal Show where Highway to Hell and Back in Black were pitted against each other and Highway to Hell won no-contest. So I know I'm not alone. 

International cover
Australian cover
Highway to Hell 3:29
Girls Got Rhythm 3:24
Walk All Over You 5:11
Touch Too Much 4:28
Beating Around the Bush 3:57
Shot Down in Flames 3:23
Get It Hot 2:35
If You Want Blood (You've Got It) 4:38
Love Hungry Man 4:18
Night Prowler 6:18

Lineup: Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, Bon Scott

Sunday, January 19, 2014

One Piece (Wan pîsu) (Season One)

Chances are that if you are reasonably familiar with anime then you have probably heard of One Piece. If, for whatever reason, you haven't heard of this show then you'd certainly be in for a treat. Although some patience will be required of you. Generally, folks steer clear of television shows, movies, and books that are really long and I never have gotten this kind of logic. For one thing, it means missing out on a story just because it isn't confined to a certain length. I have always believed that a story should be as long as it needs to be in order for the story to be told properly. So whether it's six episodes or 600 episodes, I don't really care because I just want a damn good story. Sure, 600+ episodes can seem intimidating, but if it's good you won't really care because you'll enjoy the time spent watching the series.

In case you haven't gathered, One Piece is a very long anime with over 620 episodes to its credit and it isn't finished yet. That makes it the 18th longest anime of all time, I believe. To date this is the longest anime I have attempted. All of the episodes from Dragonball, Dragonball Z, and Dragonball GT combined (629) is just as long as One Piece (629) for now. I say "for now" because One Piece is still in production while the Dragonball franchise has long since been finished.

So watching One Piece is a commitment, no doubt, but it is one worth making if you consider yourself a fan of the action and adventure anime genre. As of this writing, I am about to embark on episode 88 of the series after beginning the first episode on January 1st. My goal is to catch up with the series in six months. I think that is a very doable goal since a little over a 100 episodes a month is very feasible for me. I might even try for 130 a month.

And yes, I still have a job.

However, I am a die hard anime fan with a lot of other stuff to watch (as well as non-anime things to read and watch) so I certainly won't spend all my time on this one show.

But I will tell you a little about each season like I did with Naruto and will do with Naruto: Shippuden, Bleach, and the Dragonball series once I can thin my queue down a bit.

The plot can roughly be summed up by saying that it is about a boy (although his age is hard to discern) named Monkey D. Luffy and his quest to become the King of the Pirates, but I think that the sheer amount of episodes involved warrant a little bit more of an explanation.

The first season (of the sixteen current seasons) is 64 episodes long and it slowly but surely introduces us to the characters we will be sailing with on our journey. The first one we meet is naturally Luffy. He wears tattered jean shorts, a red button-up sleeveless shirt, and the patented straw hat with a red band on it. The straw hat is the reason that his pirate group earn the nickname "Straw Hats," but that is later on down the line. He's a goofy guy, but he seems easier to like than a lot of his shonen counterparts. So if he doesn't mesh with you than you might be in for a very long journey indeed. I really like him, though. He can be very goofy, but he can also kick some serious ass with very little hesitation.

The first season is comprised of a bunch of smaller arcs and they are as follows: Romance Dawn (1-3), Orange Town (4-8), Syrup Village (9-17), Baratie (18-30), Arlong Park (31-44), Buggy side story (45-47), Loguetown (48-53), Warship Island (54-61), Reverse Mountain (62-63), and then Whiskey Peak (64-67). For whatever odd reason the first season ends at the beginning of the Whiskey Peak while the East Blue Saga ends at episode 61 with the Alabasta Saga beginning on episode 62.

Not quite sure who thought the division between seasons out, but I think that's a little bit screwed up. Stopping a season right in the middle of an arc in a different saga doesn't make much sense.

The first three arcs are pretty decent and they introduce us to Luffy's some of eventual crew members: pirate hunter Roronoa Zoro, liar Usopp, and navigator Nami. The villains from the first three arcs left me with mixed feelings. Axe-hand Morgan seemed cool, but then I thought things took a step backward with the introduction of Buggy. Buggy just didn't interest me that much (although I did like when his character was reintroduced in episode 45... sort of). Then the Captain Kuro stuff really seemed to indicate that this show could actually be better than your average adventure schtick.

By the time I made it to the Baratie arc I wasn't sure if I really could be into this show for the long haul. It was okay so far, but not super fantastic. Certainly not worth 600+ plus episodes and six months of my time.

Then came the Baratie and the Arlong Park arcs.

And, man, did this show take a fucking great turn. 

One thing I have liked about this show since the beginning is that the characters are generally well-rounded and fleshed out. The Baratie arc shows us Zoro's motivation for wanting to be the most skilled fighter in the world. That same arc introduces us to Sanji and tells us his backstory. I like that. Each time a new character is introduced we are told what we need to know about them to make them interesting. A lot of anime expects you to take their cardboard caricatures as being interesting without telling you anything about them or showing them do anything, but not One Piece.

The best of the backstories (and villains) of the first season is saved for the Arlong Park arc, though.

Inuyasha started the same way, basically introducing each character one by one in a new adventure, but Inuyasha couldn't carry its own weight after a while. The lack of diverse villains didn't help Inuyasha, either. One Piece doesn't fail like Inuyasha did. I mean, Inuyasha was okay, but it was way too long and the same points were hammered on endlessly. It's like that characterization in Inuyasha stopped after the two seasons because the writers forgot what that word meant. When I was on episode 80-something of Inuyasha I was hoping that an end was on the horizon somewhere. One Piece is different, though. One Piece has a bit of a leisurely pace, but never feels deliberately slow (as far as the canon episodes are concerned, anyway). The fighting is prominent and in multi-episode format like Dragonball Z, but the resolutions to each fight are worth it and they don't feel like they have been dragged out. 

Of course, I'm not watching these episodes week to week like people did when they premiered, but going through about five per day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But I don't feel like I'm forcing myself through these episodes even though I made it a point to watch them. If I were someone dedicating years of childhood, teengedom, and even adulthood to this show then my opinion might very be different. 

The only time when things got tedious was during the Warship Island arc. That stuff is filler (although the last half of episode 61 is canon). Episodes 50 and 51 from the first season are also filler. It's pretty impressive how long it took for filler to rear its head, though. Dragonball Z was hitting its first filler before episode ten. Naruto hit its first filler on episode 26. So for the first filler to be episode 50... that's impressive.

So, folks, if you've got a Funimation account then you can watch pretty much entire show online in either the dubbed or subbed version. I'm obviously going subbed the whole way.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Am a Cat by Natsume Sosuki

Academic humor is generally not my forte. Don't know what academic humor is? Well, here's an example: "How many economics professors does it take to change a light bulb? None. If it really needed changing, market forces would have caused that to happen." While I do rather appreciate that joke's corniness, I can't say that I would like to read a whole book like that... he says knowingly...

However, academic humor does have its place in the world and there are books that are fairly well respected despite (or because of) the fact that they are bit eggheadish. Written between 1905 and 1906 as a series of middle-sized to long shorts before ultimately being collected in 1911, I am a Cat (Wagahai wa neko de aru) is what is considered to be a comic masterpiece about Japanese society during the Meiji era (1868-1912). 

The translated English version, done in 1972 by Graeme Wilson and Ito Aiko (not to be confused with the actress of the same name), has a bit of a high class British feel to it. With Graeme being British, I suppose that makes sense. The story just doesn't seem very Japanese to me, though. Of course, the Meiji era was a time of mixing with Western culture so perhaps my issue with the translation is more or less an issue with the time period itself. I feel I should also mention that Sosuki himself was a scholar of British literature. So the British feel the book has makes sense, I think.

It probably isn't an issue with translation, but it is odd imagining Japanese middle class people sounding like they could go out for "fish and chips" even though they are really eating rice balls. It's fairly easy to adapt to the way everyone talks. (But the names of the characters are still a bit annoying even if they are adequately translated. I can deal with Japanese characters speaking English perfectly having watched enough dubbed anime, but having English names too is where I kind of draw the line. At least keep some part of this story Japanese-sounding.)

What might not be so easy to adapt to is the pace. The first story was meant to be a standalone and at 21 pages it is the shortest story of the bunch. If you are wondering whether this might be your thing then the first story will be a fairly quick read. All the rest of the stories are about 50 pages or longer and they are all collectively soaked in dry academic humor and are just about some folks that go about their daily business. No chases or fights or anything even resembling action for the most part. With eleven stories in total tallying over 600 hundred pages in length, this can certainly be an off-putting read to a lot of people.  

This isn't a fast-paced book. A lot of literature isn't particularly fast-paced, but this one is one of those bedtime or work break books that I will read a bit from before I have to move on to other things. It's not a bad book and I certainly wouldn't begrudge anybody who chose to binge-read such a book, but "a little bit at a time" is the pace I with which I felt the most comfortable. 

I've been making a few notes as I go, highlighting a particularly witty phrase here or there, and some of the phrases are quite good. 

My favorite is this one: "For money, believe you me, is a hard mistress and none of her lovers are let off lightly. As a matter of fact, I've just been visiting a businessman and, according to him, the only way to succeed is to practice the 'triangled technique': try to escape your obligations, annihilate your kindly feelings, and geld yourself of the sense of shame. Try-an-geld. You get it? Jolly clever, don't you think?"

That particular quote is made somewhere around page 180 and is told in sort of a joking manner by one of the snob characters. It might have been Waverhouse or maybe Coldmoon. I can't remember because I didn't highlight who said it and I don't feel like going back and figuring it out. At any rate that quote is way too complicated to be even remotely funny, but it apparently is an excellent translation of a complicated Japanese pun. And the quote is designed to be complicated and drawn out because that's just the sort of things that academic snobs do and that's where the satire comes in. The humor is often purposefully forced and clunky to make the snobs sound stupid.

Our narrator through these stories is a cat without a name. He belongs, more or less, to Mr. and Mrs. Sneaze and gets to observe Mr. Sneaze and his exchanges with the famous embellisher of facts Mr. Waverhouse and the ardent doctorate pursuer Mr. Coldmoon. He writes about these exchanges with his own feline insights although the further into the book the less the narrator seems feline. Even the cat is smart enough to make note of that fact by saying that all of his frequent meetings with humans make him feel like he has practically become one. 

Overall, these stories do blend together to tell a bit of a tale and do chronologically follow the order in which they are placed, but they can stand alone, too. From what I can tell, anyway. I am about halfway finished with this book because I am reading other things and also because I don't really feel in a rush to finish this book, but the introduction piece clued me in a great deal as to just what the contents of this book is like. 

If you think you'd like this kind of book then I would recommend it because it is a good and competent read. I prefer books that feel less dry and have a bit of an atmosphere, though. That's why I found No Longer Human so fascinating and riveting. 

Still, I don't doubt I will read another title from this guy in the future. 

P.S. - My Kindle version of this story was rife with some formatting issues. While not an indictment of the story it certainly is an annoyance and an indictment of the Kindle version. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Attack On Titan Vol. 3 by Isayama Hajime

Damn, this manga is good. It also serves to reinforce the fact that the anime is good, too. In fact, it feels like I am re-reading the manga because the anime is so spot on with the exception of a few differences here and there. 

Now that it has been found out that Eren is a titan (or can at least transform into one), he and his two good friends Mikasa and Armin are more or less put on trial by firing squad. 

But before we get into that we are finally introduced to Captain Levi, all around badass, thanks to a special side story chapter. While this may seem like the manga version of coitus interruptus, this side story is actually pretty good and waiting a few more pages to see what happens to Eren is worth it.

After that side story we are once again whisked back to Eren's story as he wakes up to the sight of frightened soldiers everywhere pointing cannons at him. It's understandable that so many people are frightened of him even though a lot of them did see him whip some serious titan ass while in titan mode. They've just never seen a titan that didn't try to eat people before and I guess I can't blame them because fear makes people do some stupid things.

Eren decides that he can either run away on his own and see what answers he can find out about his condition by himself or somehow convince the soldiers that he isn't a threat and work with them to stop the titans. However, he leaves it to Armin to choose the wiser course of action and he makes the decision that could very well change the future of humanity. But Eren must somehow make it to the basement of his old house in titan territory because he is sure the answers to his condition are hidden there. 

Naturally, this volume ends on a cliffhanger. If I hadn't already seen the anime I would be so much more on the edge of my seat right now because I kind of already know what happens next. It's still awesome, though. 

But if you haven't seen the anime or read the manga (why the hell are you here???) then go into it blind because you'll enjoy the hell out it and there's no sense spoiling it for yourself. 

Naruto (Season Five)

It was episode 100 when I stopped watching Naruto back in 2007. I can't remember why I stopped watching, but it is certainly odd that I did. Excluding the filler episode 101 and the filler Land of Tea arc that bridges the end of season four to the beginning of season five, this part of Naruto is the best part. The brief fight between Sasuke and Naruto, Sasuke's subsequent turn toward evil, and then the epic chase to prevent Sasuke from falling into Orochimaru's hands is the perfect way to end the series. 

That's why I find it all the more mind-boggling that the anime continued for a full 85 episodes after what was rightfully the end of the first part of Naruto in the manga. Episodes 131-135 are apart of the sixth season according to Crunchyroll, but I am going to ignore that distinction because I have opted to skip episodes 136-220. If you want to watch all of that filler than have at it. I personally don't have time for that. 

Once the Land of Tea arc (a mercifully short albeit pointless filler arc) ends we finally get to the meat of this entire story. While I have thought of Sasuke as a bit of an overrated douchebag (certainly nowhere near as cool as Vegeta), I won't deny that Sasuke is one of the more interesting characters in the series and his descension from grace is a major turning point. 

While I personally found Gaara's and Orochimaru's background stories a bit uninteresting, I will say that I thought the complete opposite of Sasuke's background. It has been hinted at in prior episodes, but we finally get to see the full story about Itachi's betrayal from Sasuke's perspective. The fact that he is reflecting on his past while fighting his best friend (presumably to the death) makes it all the more fitting. I know it seems like you could make a drinking game out of how many times Naruto has flashbacks the ones about Sasuke are actually quite worth it and add a little extra something to the "breaking of bond," as Sasuke might refer to it.  

While watching the flashbacks about Itachi, I couldn't help but feel like things were a bit off and that my chain was being jerked around a bit. Could there be a little bit more than meets the eye or what?

Of course, I am getting ahead of things. 
When Sasuke chooses to leave the village to seek out Orochimaru's training, the Fifth Hokage calls the newly-appointed jonin Shikamaru to enlist a team to track him down. Shikamaru chooses Kiba, Choji, Neji, and Naruto (of course) to accompany him on this mission. 

Accompanying Sasuke are four of Orochimaru's goons (aptly called the Sound Ninja Four) and they would be tough for battle-hardened jonin to bring down. Unfortunately, with the village's most powerful ninja away on other missions, Shikamaru and his crew of inexperienced genin are hopelessly outmatched. 

Or are they?

It was good to see Naruto actually act within the confines of a group of different people and learn to follow orders as a soldier instead of a student. It was especially even more rewarding to see Shikamaru be the one to give those orders even if he is the one who has the least drive of just about all of the Naruto characters. 

If you like fights between dudes with superpowers that last for episodes on end then this is where it's at, folks. The inevitable fight between Naruto and Sasuke to end the series (wishful thinking on my part, but hey, fuck filler) was the icing on the cake. 

However, the single crowning moment in all of Naruto-dom is the drunken Rock Lee fight. You'll know it when you see it. 

I've already skipped episodes 136-220 in favor of going straight into Naruto: Shippuden and I feel like I haven't missed a thing. Skip the filler, folks. You can always go back an watch it later when you are bored if you really want. 

Did I mention that the fight between Naruto and Sasuke is fucking awesome? Because it is. While I really do like to make fun of people who like this show a bit too much I can definitely say it is good. I won't watch it ten times over like some folks, but it's still pretty good. Second State Sasuke (that purple thing pictured above) is pretty freaky and kind of looks like a woman. I think that's my only real con about that big fight. But I guess it's only natural he looks like a woman considering how often he acts like a self-righteous little bitch. 

Good stuff. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)

My Little Monster is an odd show. Yes, the English title sounds like it could be a cheesy sci-fi porno flick (although I'd hate to be the guy with the "little monster"), but it isn't. Although there are enough scenes with a strange guy running around with a cock in his hands. And by "cock" I really do mean rooster, but it sounds much less "innuendo-y" to actually say rooster.

Comprised of 13 episodes and released in the fall of 2012, My Little Monster is a story about a socially awkward girl named Mizutani Shizuku and an odd but outgoing delinquent boy named Yoshida Haru. Naturally, this show is about their rather peculiar relationship. Shizuku is a girl hopelessly devoted to her studies to the point of almost becoming a soulless robot while Haru seems to be a naturally gifted genius and doesn't take school so seriously and really likes chickens. 

This makes for a rather interesting dynamic as while they both seem more than willing to admit their love for each other, they (or more specifically Shizuku) wish to maintain distance so Shizuku can focus on her studies. Which I suppose can make one question the notion of just what is defined as a "couple" or "love." When the relationship isn't the priority then how much value is there in this relationship in the first place? As someone who understands Shizuku's mindset a little too well, I'm not sure I can answer the question because a relationship is something I've yet to experience. However, doing the same old things out of a sense of repetition even when you don't feel satisfaction from them can be a universal sensation. Perhaps Shizuku studies because that's all she's ever really known and not because she really enjoys it. When confronted with the idea there is happiness outside of her comfort zone she pushes it away. 

Maybe I'm looking into this too deeply. Well, whatever. 

Their friends see this line between them and a few of them with crushes of their own do their best to exploit this "Shizuku-imposed" gap. 

While I wouldn't call this show a bad one (it isn't), I thought there was something from this show missing. It just felt a bit too dry to me. Perhaps if I had binge-watched this show and finished it in a day then I'd have a much better impression of it. As it is, it took me a while to finish this show because of everything else I'm trying to watch. The first few episodes had a lot actually happen (an abnormality for romance anime) and it certainly seemed like a lot more was going to happen in later episodes. However, I don't think the show continued on and finished as strong as it could have. The ending didn't resolve anything, either. I am typically not one to decry an ending as long as all of the story elements are played out to their fullest, but this show just stopped with no actual denouement. Apparently, the manga continued after this show ended while this show didn't manage to catch on enough in Japan to warrant a second season. 

I've heard there is an OVA so I would like to see that to see if it resolves anything, but overall I think I'm fine with this show not getting a second season. If it got one someday then I'm sure I'd check it out, but I'm not on the edge of my seat or anything. But if Attack on Titan never got a second season there would be rivers of blood pouring through my eyeballs as my brain exploded from the rage.  

This show was brought to my attention by former Sonic coworker Trey Lannie so this post is for you, buddy. 

P.S. - Did I mention that this show featured a chicken? Because it does feature a chicken. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


So basically everyone in the United States is freezing their nuts off today. Many folks are in the negatives. Y'all have my sympathies. However, I am not cold at the moment because I am in my long-sleeved attire and wearing my London Fog jacket. Did I also mention that I am inside where it is nice and warm? Warm, I say! Warm! I am feeling nice and cozy right now. Eat your collective cold hearts out!

Anyway, I need to make a post today. I got off work an hour early (at noon because business was slow as shit) and realized that I haven't posted squat in a few days. 

I'm thinking it's time for a movie review. I've been very bad about not watching movies for a while. Perhaps it's the hundreds of dollars I've been dropping on anime. Twenty bucks a month on anime memberships, the fifty bucks-a-season blu-ray box sets, eighty bucks alone on the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVD set (after guilt-tripping myself because I got a bootleg version for much cheaper), the shirts, as well as various items like keychains and CD's. With all that I just don't have a lot of dough to buy a bunch of movies. And the list of movies I want to buy is really, really long. Thank God for Netflix, though. I don't watch it enough for the aforementioned reasons, but when I do I always make it something I've been wanting to see for awhile. 

Skyfall was at the top of my queue. Yeah, I technically bought The Bond 50 for my mom this Christmas and I could mooch off of her blu-ray, but I don't roll like that. So I was glad that Netflix came to my rescue. For the moment anyway because I do plan on buying it in the future now that I've seen it. 

Now I don't know about you, but I am a pretty big James Bond fan. By that I mean that I have seen every single one of the movies (as well as the unofficial Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again) multiple times with the exception of Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. I haven't read the novels, though. Not a single one. I've wanted to try at least one of them and I'm sure I will eventually, but for now I don't mind sticking with the movies.

While debates about which Bond is better or what the best Bond movie is are always fun they always end up with the same answers. And by always I mean usually. Sean Connery is generally considered to be the best and Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Dr. No, and typically On Her Majesty's Secret Service (a movie that could have been the best Bond movie of all time had it actually featured Connery) are considered to be the best Bond movies. Of course, every now and then you'll run into "that guy" that prefers Roger Moore and claims that Octopussy is the best Bond movie ever made. Fuck you, "that guy." Fuck you. 

However, this Daniel Craig guy is a serious contender for the best Bond ever. Casino Royale (the Batman Begins of James Bond movies) and Quantum of Solace showed us a glimpse of serious Bond greatness (although Quantum of Solace was very much the inferior of the two), but Skyfall is really where we hit pay dirt greatness. Skyfall is one of the best James Bond movies of all time and in my opinion it is the best. I love Sean Connery (certainly the best non-Bond actor next to Craig) and Goldfinger, but Skyfall is The Dark Knight of James Bond movies and Daniel Craig is perfect for it.

Daniel Craig's Bond is a cold and hardened man on the surface, but that is often a disguise for the surprisingly emotionally imbalanced person he is beneath. This sort of characterization hasn't been done before in the Bond movies. In the past he was either a largely two dimensional cold-blooded killer with a cold sense of humor (Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton could both fit this category although more so Connery during the early movies) or a complete goof (Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan and eventually Sean Connery, too). Of course, Bond was meant to be a dull and two dimensional kind of person, nothing more than a slick shark in a suit. The reason Ian Fleming chose the name James Bond was because it was the dullest he could think of. 

Of course, Ian Fleming himself never intended for James Bond to have much of a sense of humor or Scottish roots, either. So in a way even Connery's performance in Dr. No wasn't quite the true James Bond. In fact, Connery's performance in Dr. No influenced how Fleming wrote You Only Live Twice.

Had Fleming lived a longer life (he died in 1964) then I would love to know what he thought about so many of the Bond movies made from his films. I would especially like to know his thoughts on Skyfall

Skyfall incorporates a bit of all things Bond past. Certainly there's the scene with a famous Bond car that everyone should recognize right off the bat. A Bond newbie would have no idea what it meant, but if you know your Bond movies than you definitely smiled when you saw the car. The fact that the car plays an important part in the movie is even better. It's like the old Spock playing an important role in the new Star Trek. It just works and feels right and God bless it. 

Daniel Craig also pulls off what I think is the best Bond performance to date. Why? Well, I suppose Judi Dench's M character has something to do with that. Those two are definitely the dynamic duo in this movie and I am very glad that Judi Dench got some real screen time in this movie as well as a real character to work with. In the past Dench's M was just an authoritative face in a long line of authoritative faces in the Bond universe and while I certainly liked Judi Dench in the Brosnan movies, I think she is much better utilised in the Craig movies. Dench and Craig worked well as foils for each other and the their respective characters made the other stronger. 

Of course, one might accuse this film of a being a bit too touchy-feely what with having an emotional Bond and a harsh but caring M as Bond's mother figure and all that. Yeah, I suppose that's a fair (if not a bit douchey) opinion. It's a matter of taste, I suppose. I can't really imagine many people disliking this film for that reason alone, but if you do dislike this film than the Connery movies are still there, left untouched by this film. You are more than welcome to re-watch them until your heart's content, but you'd be selling yourself a bit short. 

Javier Bardem is the baddie in this movie. At first I thought he was just kind of a wimpy creep, but he surprised me a bit and by the end I thought he was one bad dude. Not quite Heath Ledger Joker stuff, but still a very good performance for an actor playing a Bond villain. I wish more of the Bond villains would be big name actors who can actually act and bring some life to what is essentially yet another in a long line of cardboard cutout villains. 

We also have a new Q in this movie. Desmond Llewelyn will never be replaced. Having John Cleese become the new Q in Die Another Day didn't sit so well with me even though I like Cleese and on the whole I don't think Die Another Day was all that bad. What was wrong with Die Another Day can scarcely be laid at Cleese's feet (or even Brosnan's for that matter). 

This new Q is rather good, though. I liked him because he was just different enough and yet still retained a few of the classic Q quirks. The guy who plays Q, Ben Whishaw, is someone I've never heard of, but I will remember the name. 

I personally loved the scenery in this movie, too. Especially the setting of the climax. Loved it. I rarely notice many of the exotic locations in the Bond world because after a while they all blend together (except for Moonraker because that one took place in space), but Skyfall stuck out to me. 

That's all I really have to say about this movie. At two and a half hours it is a long one, but you've got nothing better to do at the moment, right? Watching Skyfall is much better than freezing to death. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Queen's Blade 2: Successor to the Throne/The Evil Eye (Kuīnzu Bureido Gyokuza o Tsugumono)

Happy New Year, everyone! It's 2014! Amazing how time flies, huh? 

My first post of this year is about the second season of Queen's Blade. I had meant to finish the show and review it last year because my goal was to start the year off with a clean slate, but I just didn't have the energy to make a post after watching the final three episodes late last night. 

If you thought the first season of Queen's Blade (reviewed here) had a lot of fanservice then the second season will leave you with your mind blown. I think the moment that really got me was when the character Nyx was introduced alongside with her staff. You see, her staff is actually a tentacled demon lord named Funikura that bestows her with magical powers. The only downside is that Nyx's staff molests  rapes her frequently with, you guessed it, the tentacles on the staff. 

However, I rather liked Nyx's character once I got used to the whole tentacle rape thing. She's klutzy and hates Leina's sister Elina and that makes her okay in my book. Had she actually beaten Elina during their Queen's Blade match than that would have been just fine with me. It probably would have been the defining moment in the series.

In the last season Risty was Leina's rival/mentor, but in this season she turns to the dark side and becomes a servant of Queen Aldra. While I rather liked the uniform change that accompanied her trip to the dark side, I honestly don't know how everyone knew it was her by just looking. She looked like a completely different person and I don't care what anybody else says. I suppose I can only chalk it up to anime logic or something.

Speaking of the queen, this season we actually see the evil Queen Aldra and the... ummm, the metallic codpiece she happens to be sporting. She can call it a "secret cleaver" all she wants, but that motherfucker is a spiky penis, damn it. I mean, doesn't it make sense to have a "Hentacle" staff and a futanari in the same series? Or is that just me?

Overall, I did like the second season to Queen's Blade. Of course, there's still the OVA series Queen's Blade: Beautiful Fighters and the third season Queen's Blade Rebellion to get to, but it wouldn't have been too bad of a thing to end it after this show. Of course, I may revise that opinion once I see the others. 

One thing that really got on my nerves was the death of Shizuka, though. I can forgive the lack of Echidna in the second season (barely), but I can't forgive how contrived Shizuka's death felt. I know this story doesn't exactly have the strongest storyline around, but it always remained somewhat decent up until that point. Her dying at that point just made no sense. Anime logic at work again, I guess. 

Well, that's about all I have to say on this one. The ending is kind of predictable (hint: the bad guys *ahem* girls lose), but the journey was fairly fun. Airi's transformation into one of the good guys was particularly satisfying to watch. And I suppose I could say the same for Melona even though I wouldn't exactly call her a hero. She certainly did her best to defeat the queen, but she still shoots acid out of her nipples and I just can't trust anyone that can do that kind of thing. Well, maybe I can, but I certainly can't trust anyone with bunny ears. Nope, I draw the line there. 

As always, if you think this show is up your alley then it probably is. It's got boobs and fighting and more boobs... 

And still more boobs...

Yeah, it's got something for just about everybody. Just make sure you watch the first season before the second one and you'll be as good as gold.