Archive for the ‘Live Action’ Category


The Speakeasy #051: Upside-down Pineapple, March Movie Madness

March 31, 2014
Drink #051: Upside-down Pineapple
March Movie Madness

Unlike all the other East Coast anime fans, we didn’t head to Anime Boston this month. Instead, we talk about all the movies we saw during March. Okay, yeah, fine we couldn’t come up with a real, all encompassing topic, okay? But hey, you get two anime movie reviews (Patema Inverted and Giovanni’s Island both of which played at the NYICFF) and our thoughts on the Veronica Mars movie (have we ever sounded this ridiculously happy in a podcast before?).

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Upside-down Pineapple

  • 1/2 oz. Vodka, vanilla
  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake vanilla vodka and pineapple juice with ice and strain into shot glass. Add grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom and will give this shot a very sweet conclusion.


Ongoing Investigations: Case #234

February 3, 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 There is only one thing we like almost equally much as detectives: phantom thieves. Bandette (vol. 1) by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover is a delightful adventure set on the streets of Paris featuring (mostly) good Samaritan expert thief Bandette and her band of merry followers.

Bandette’s goals are a light mystery, her attitude is fresh, carefree, and yet she comes off as knowing everything before it happens. She is really quite a wonder, never seeming affected by all the trouble she runs into and never worrying how she will manage. One thing we do know is she has quite the affinity for rare, and first edition, books. Also candy. She has an oh-so-necessary secret lair and seems to have money and means.

Her friends come off as kind of Baker Street Irregulars, essential to getting her out of jams, setting up means of escape, and alerting her of any information they might find.

Colleen Coover’s art is so lively with a range of facial expressions and reactions which give the story such levity even when assassins appear. Her paintings of Paris give it all the mystique and romance that it deserves so much so I’d like to have her just make a travel guide for the city!

The first installment of Bandette does everything right; it is a bright, whitty, fun jaunt while introducing a villainous organization out to get Bandette, presenting a rival thief who begrudgingly helps her, tip-toeing around a possible love interest, and painting Paris as both light and dark. There are many mysteries and adventures ahead, I can’t wait for the next volume!


hisui_icon_4040 Yankee-kun na Yamada-kun to Megane-chan to Majo is a delightful cross over comic letting the cast of two of Miki Yoshikawa’s most famous works have a bit of a meeting. Since both series are goofball comedies it is clear that their combination would be equially flippant but just as amusing. The plot uses the body swapping powers from Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches but most of the story revolves around the cast of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan.

Due to your standard meeting of characters running in the street while late to school there is the toast being carried in the mouth. But instead of the normal boy-girl collision this leads to Daichi Shinagawa and Ryu Yamada kissing and thereby changing bodies. This means that they are both desperately trying to find the other one to get back to where they belong.

For the most part this is a Yankee-kun to Megane-chan story. They definetly get the lion share’s of the attention in the story. Even Ryu spends most of the chapter in Daichi’s body which makes him practically a character who is half Yamada-kun and half Yankee-kun. Then again Ryu’s series is still ongoing while the Mon Shiro High School has not had a chance to shine in a while.

Also I accept any excuse to see Rinka Himeji again.

The story does highlight the fact that Daichi and Ryu are similar enough that no one at Mon Shiro High School can tell there is someone else in his body. If Adachi and Shiraishi had switched bodies that would not have been the case. You can tell that Miki Yoshikawa really likes a certain type of male delinquent as her main character. But I don’t think Kate would disagree with her choice of protagonist.

It is a fun little story that should be a treat for fans of either series. If you like both series it is even better.

Also is has a whole bunch of guys kissing.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #232

December 9, 2013

narutaki_icon_4040 Mao no Kyoushitsu is a one-shot by Miki Yoshikawa done with her usual zany flair. This time she takes us to an elementary school class whose teacher just happens to be Satan.

The class is of course terrified at first, then they come to think it is all an act but is it!? Manami and her friends set out to find the truth, she being the only one who believes he must truly be Satan. I really enjoyed the repoire between all the kids from their over the top reactions to young cynicism. A wonderfully bizarre setup and fun romp that I wouldn’t mind reading more of.

Surely the best part is when The Devil commends Manami for attempting to burn him alive (it was an accident!).

hisui_icon_4040  It was nice to be able to track down a one shot story from Miki Yoshikawa in the form of Mao no Kyoushitsu. All too often we never get to see little stories like this from even well-known authors let alone lesser known artists like the author of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan. It can even be hard for the Japanese audience to read some of these stories let alone us Yanks.

Before I get into anything else I would like to mention that I thank goodness they translated chuunibyou as poser “nutjob-itis.” I feel like we are just getting out of the grips of small segment of people throwing around the term Chuunibyou all the time. So a somewhat silly English version fits with the scene were the kids are trying to figure out Mr. De Mon’s deal all the better. I don’t feel you have to translate every word into English for a good translation but here the adaptation of a complex word here adds a lot to the scene.

Other than that the strongest part of the story here is the characters. Manami is a great protagonist. Her desire for school to be more fun if Mr. De Mon’s story is true is really infectious. At times it makes her an unreliable narrator but that makes the story even more enjoyable.  You are sort of wondering if Mr. De Mon is really a hell spawn the whole time too. Also her reaction faces are great.

Mr. De Mon is equally fun. In a way he is the type of character that Miki Yoshikawa excels in. She knows when to play him for laughs really well but is not afraid to pull back for a little emotional softness when the time is right. The key is to go for the emotional moments at just the right time or they come off as lame. Also too much serous emotion makes the character overly dramatic and weighs down the comedy.

I also really like the delivery of the line, “”He likes pretty girls. Earth shattering.” A wonderful use of deadpan.

And the story ends nicely. You get the feeling there are more stories with Mr. De Mon but that is where the curtain closes. I feel that Miki Yoshikawa is a good enough author to continue the story of The Demon’s Classroom. She is really good at creating new avenues in a story that other authors would just use to tell variations on the same story. But at the same time this is a great place to end the story as a happy short story.

If you never read anything by Miki Yoshikawa this is a great place to get to know her as an artist with a minimum time commitment. It is a story that showcases some of her best features in a single story. If your already a fan I’m sure your hunting down this story as we speak.

Bonus: If are a fan of Miki Yoshikawa you will see an elementary school version of Hana Adachi in the last panel of page five.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #228

September 23, 2013

narutaki_icon_4040 The Legend of Korra from Nickelodeon Studios returns! I had been actively avoiding all the preview clips and such before the actual release of the show. The double-episode premier moved at a very quick pace (which I’m feeling currently neutral about) and we saw the gang head off to the South Pole.

I liked that the show carried over Korra and Tenzin’s rocky student-mentor relationship. There was growth for both of them but that doesn’t mean things are all peace after the first season. The same can be said of Korra’s feelings towards her father. It is very clear that Korra feels like rebelling and that is only compounded, quite understandably, after some secrets are revealed about the past. I have a feeling more and more secrets are going to be dropped this season.

Korra’s uncle is so transparently evil that I hope they surprise us with his story and training of Korra. I would like to find out that he truly does have a positive connection with the spirits but his zealous attitude has taken things too far. I don’t want to see Korra get used but at the same time her impatient attitude has to catch up with her if we’re too see major changes for her.

I’m really curious to see Kya’s story!

Needs more Asami. Needs more Naga.

hisui_icon_4040 While the end of the first season of the The Legend of Korra suffered a bit then it tried with breakneck speed to tie up any and all loose ends before it ended I enjoyed the experience greatly. So I looked forward to see what would happen with the 2 episode hour-long special of the second season entitled Spirits. The first season was an extremely self-contained story, as it was originally supposed to be the only season, so one of the main questions was where they would go from the previous conclusion.

In many way the new season starts with everyone rather settled into the calm after the defeat of Amon. Some people are doing well like Mako and Korra while others are struggling to stay aloft like Asami and Bolin. But none of them are really worried about major world events or dire problems. All their current projects are personal but not necessarily trivial.

Korra is the most lackadaisical of the cast. Having learned the basics of air bending and touching her spiritual side she seems to have adapted an attitude of, “I got this.” Tenzin wishes to continue deeper into the spiritual side of air bending but Korra is all out of cares in her caring pouch. But before Tenzin can take her on a tour of the Air temples for a journey of self discovery and spiritual awakening as a compromise they agree to go to a festival at the South Pole first.

It should be clear from the title of the season that while Korra has gotten a good feel of the physicality of being the Avatar now the she can use all four elements she has only really taken a single step on the path of the world outside the material. When she encounters hostile spirits she can throw a good deal of damage their way but the subtleties unique to dealing with the immaterial is a complete unknown to her.

At the same time she is also dealing with her father and uncle. Her father is a well-meaning guy but is clearly someone who has made several poor decisions in his life. It is interesting in the fact that the bad things that happened to him  were not just misfortunes beyond his control but disastrous decisions that either came from poor judgement or an overprotective nature. Tonraq is clearly not a bad guy but someone who clearly flawed while trying to do the right thing. Her uncle, Unalaq, on the other hand is a well-informed and spiritual man. He clearly understands the world of the unseen and the proper rituals to deal with it. At the same time he seems inflexible in his beliefs. He is definitely the type to burn a village in order to save it without a second thought.

I am slightly tempted to ask my RPG group to watch this season if for nothing else they just started a storyline in-game that is dealing with spirits so it seems extremely relevant.

The episode ends well with a strong hook for the season. It shows the direction ion which a majority of the plot is going to revolve around at least for the time being if not the rest of the season. I’m glad to see a storyline that could be as interesting as the Equalist storyline from last year. There is also a major emphasis on the original progenitor of the Avatar concept as well. I am curious to see how his origin will tie into the larger story.

So far I like how the first season is going.  The last season was almost exclusively set in Republic City. This season seems to be focusing on the North and South Pole with the distinct possibility of doing some globetrotting to the mundane and spirit world as well. We have already seen that the Water Tribes have advanced since we last saw them as well as the Air country has begun to reform if they don’t really have any benders beyond Tenzin’s family. That exploration of the world alone should make this season worth watching.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

Read the rest of this entry ?


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