Guardians of the Galaxy – Refreshing and yet comfortably classic

I was planning to make a post this Friday, right after watching it, but I got busy. But after a long pause, I’m back.

Some months ago, the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy came out, and it was pretty well-received. I personally loved it, because of the song as well as it showed enough to hook you in but neglected to show key things that would’ve ruined the movie otherwise if it had.

There was hype, and also skepticism: after all, the Guardians of the Galaxy were nowhere near as popular or as well-known as the Avengers, or the X-Men. Many thought Marvel was running out of ideas, or that it would flop or, at best, underperform.

But this wasn’t the case, and in fact, it got all the hype it deserved, for the movie is awesome, it’s great. A total blast.

In case you haven’t seen the movie or the previews, the movie is about a team of what could be considered galactic outlaws, who have to work together to stop an evil plot from Thanos and his subordinate, Ronan, from obtaining one of the Infinity Stones (first established in the movie Thor: The Dark World), the Orb, which could give infinite power (no pun intended) to those who wield it.

While it is indeed a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, I honestly thought it was much more unique than its predecessors. Although there are cameos and references to the rest of the universe, the movie feels as its own thing: it could’ve been released as a completely separate thing, and yet it would’ve been mostly the same. And it’s one of the many achievements this movie does, as even non-Marvel fans could like it, as its other strengths make it really accessible as well as attractive for people who aren’t really into these/this movies/franchise.

The movie is greatly structured, the pacing feeling perfect, the character interactions being fun and interesting, and great visuals and music. The soundtrack is a great mix of both “epic” instrumental/symphonic style inherently present in the Marvel movies, and it also has many, many oldies that will appeal to many crowds.

The designs are also fantastic, and in particular, I loved the Ravager ship designs: they were colorful, elaborate, detailed and didn’t follow the new, Hollywood doctrine of “gritty” and “dark”. They were interesting, looked familiar and yet at the same time alien, akin to a ship that you’d see in one of the old Star Wars movies. Which brings me to another point: this movie feels really Star Wars. In fact, I’d dare say it feels more Star Wars than many Star Wars products. It has a perfect balance of serious and fun, and never forgets its a sci-fi-fantasy adventure movie that doesn’t need to be pretentious or introduce otherwise-alien (no pun intended) elements that can make it seem at times a completely different movie. The action is also very well done, special-effects heavy, but well structured that doesn’t bore you, like the recent-Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Overall, this movie is great, an amazing ride, and I’m sure it will calm the fears in the fandom about Marvel Studios’ quality “dropping” or that the franchise would start “falling down”, or whatever. Even if you’re not a fan of these movies, I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy.

Oh, and Zoe Zoldana was hot.

And stay for the after-credits scene. You won’t regret it.

Anime Ramblings – Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

Holy shit, IT’S OVER!

Gundam Unicorn is OVER!

Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love Gundam Unicorn, but there’s been so many delays for it and so much hype even until now, I was just eager to see how they ended this.


So Gundam Unicorn started back in 2010, and when it was announced around year previously, everyone was hyped as fuck. I remember when Unicorn was announced: basically every mecha-related forum, board, chat, club, etc. was talking about this. Unicorn was, at that point, a novel that sounded really awesome and that seemed to tie up some lose ends from the early UC era. It was also the only hope UC fans had to the return of this timeline back to the mainstream and animated medium (there had been stuff like IGLOO and Evolve around, but they were either ignored or just not as popular or hyped as this).


Basically, what I’m gonna talk about is the OVA, because frankly, I’ve only read the first two volumes of the novel series, and I don’t think I’ll be able to finish them anytime soon, but whatever.

The OVA was initially going to be six episodes, two episodes per year. But then something happened, shortly after episode 4, which was the least well-received of the episodes by then, and Sunrise decided to not only extend the series with an additional episode, but also delay the following episodes.


It’s time for GANDAMU.

Episode 1 proved the hype wasn’t in vain: great animation, great music, excellent mechanical and character designs, not to mention the tone and the pacing was incredibly well handled and it was a greatly balanced piece of work. For anime and, especially the mecha genre, it was a good, nice fresh breath of air, which was somewhat ironic considering Unicorn uses so many clichés and tradition from the previous series (especially Universal Century Gundam series).


Can’t be Gandamu without motherfucking Char! Or Full Frontal…or just a Char clone, doesn’t matter, really.

Episode 2 lived up to its predecessors: personally, I think it even outdid it, somehow outdoing in the animation, combat, music and performance departments while being consistent in everything else. It was also basically every UC fanboy’s wet dream: the Red Comet in HD, modern animation; good old fashioned asteroid field battle; Suichi Ikeda; typical LOLGundam politics and philosophy, etc.. It shed more light on pretty much all the characters, which at this point were still somewhat unknowns (unless you had read the novels).



Episode 3 was the high point of the series, personally: it was all the good of episodes 1 and 2, with added extras like further exploring the UC timeline and world, a very moving scene involving the main character, Banagher Links, and his supporting character Marida Cruz; as well as one of, if not the, best animated combat scene in the franchise: the Battle of Palau. It also shed light on several minor characters like Daguza Mackle and Gilboa Sant, who would later become one of the many figures Banagher would look up to in the future.


HURR SIEG ZEON!!!111!!!!!!!1!1!!!!1!!!1

However, the story-telling quality of the series decreased heavily in episode 4: the pacing was attrocious, the antagonist of the episode, Lony Garvey, was nothing more than delicious fap bait, and pretty much the only reason to watch it is for the, admittedly, very awesome battle in Torrington Base between the Zeon Remnants and the Earth Federation/Londo Bell forces, which features endless cameos of mobile suits from MSV, Zeta, ZZ, Char’s Counterattack, Z-MSV, ZZ-MSV, 0080, and many other animated, manga and Variations series, as well as original designs that were based on suits from many of the aforementioned series (such as the AMX-101K). The ending of this episode, however, also questioned heavily whether or not Sunrise would be able to properly cover the content of the novels in the next two episodes.


XXX-999-666-VVV Gundam EDGE

At this point was when Sunrise decided to extend the series and make more reasonable release schedules (one episode a year instead of two episodes), in order to more effectively produce what remained of the series.

Episode 5 was much better, although it was still somewhat average. Despite this, it was possibly the first time we had had an air battle in the styles of original Gundam/Zeta between opposing factions, although the animation quality left somewhat to be desired. Despite this, it perfectly laid what followed in the next episode.


Mineva and her bitches. Or manwhores, whatever.

Episode 6 was, however, the return to the roots: a perfect balance between story-telling and action, character drama, and not to mention a huge improvement in production values in general; there were at times when it seemed some of the characters had been rotoscoped due to how fluid the animation was in this episode. It was also a perfect lead in to the next, and final, episode.

Now the final episode has finally come out, and IT’S GLORIOUS. It has its fair share of flaws, mind you, but I don’t think I’ll elaborate much upon them right now. The episode basically delivered on what it had been promising since it was announced, and it did so, greatly. Not only did we get even more mobile suit cameos from previous series (Ga-Zowmn and Zssa, anyone? Oh yes, they appear), but the episode is essentially one of the best produced Sunrise works ever done. It has its share of ridiculous, such as the final confrontation between Banagher and Full Frontal (watch it, and you’ll see what I mean), Riddhe and Marida’s arcs, Angelo (although granted, he’s been pretty ridiculous since episode 2), and a few other things. However, one doesn’t mind with how awesome the episode is. It’s basically around an hour (or hour and a half: I really didn’t bother to check how long it was) of pure UC Gundam awesome.

So, what is my final word on Gundam Unicorn? Well, I think it’d be going too far and say it’s one of the best Gundam series ever made…but I don’t care. I’ll just call it one of the best Gundam series ever made. Sure, there are some I prefer like 0080, or Zeta, but Unicorn is just so well done and so well composed (sans that shitty filler of episode 4 that might as well not exist), it really deserves most of the praise it has gotten, gets and will get.

I mean, it has great characters, excellent art (mechanical, character, background…you name it), God-tier production values…it’s basically everything Gundam should aspire to be in the future, even if it isn’t UC and features space alien pirates and is set in the Andromeda Galaxy and has character designs by Masami Obari.

So have you seen Gundam Unicorn, what do you think about it?

Random – Anime Babe of the Month

I’m bored.

The final episode of Gundam Unicorn finally came out. I’m so tempted of going to the mecha boards and check out spoilers, but I determined myself not to (especially after seeing surprise spoilers about the novel years ago).

So I’ll do this post, IDGAF.

The award of Anime Babe of the Month goes to Maria Grace Fleed, from Grendizer.


It doesn’t help that in this particular image, she’s drawn by the Master of Animated and Drawn Pronz, Satoshi Urushihara, who also made gems like Another Lady Innocent and Legend of Lemnear. But even when not drawn by Urushihara, Maria is so freaking hot it’s unbearable.

Tomorrow, Movie Babe of the Month.

Godzilla – Really, Really Cool…and the literal definition of Cocktease

I’m just back from watching this movie. Although my head hurt due to dehydration, the movie kept me hooked completely.



Now, long before its release, it seemed, at least to me, that the trailers were telling us that this was basically going to be a horror movie with action undertones. This didn’t seem to be the case  -much to my disappointment, might I add- but the movie was strong on its own.

The highlights of this movie are performances by Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Strathairn, Binoche, along with the ambientation and the production as a whole. The music is perfectly fitting for this movie, and the sound is so well done it sometimes outdoes the already-excellent visuals of the film.

My one gripe with this movie, however, is how they were trying to force us to like and care for two otherwise useless and pointless characters in the movie: the wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and the kid. There was absolutely no point for them to be in this movie.

On the other hand, Bryan Cranston’s character is the most enjoyable and sympathetic character in the movie, while Dr. Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe, has an air of the “old wise sage”, but with modern SCIENCE.

Another slight complaint I’d have, perhaps, is how they handled certai encounters between the featured monsters: for instance, in one of the encounters between Godzilla and MUTO, the two monsters are facing each other akin to the duelists of the Wild West, slowly stepping towards each other, Godzilla roaring, MUTO screaching. And then, all of the sudden, it cuts to the stupid little kid watching news footage of the fight.

And this isn’t the only time it happens.

However, the true battle -the final battle- of this move…completely makes up for the cocktease some of the previous ones were. They were glorious, well choreographed, well ambientated, well visualized. There’s also enough fanservice for fans of the original Japanese movies, and they might even catch some (possible, mind you) references to a few of those movies.

Overall this movie is a great experience, even for someone who isn’t big into Godzilla, or Kaiju, movies in general. I seriously recommend it to anyone who wants to have a great time.

Movies – Amazing Spider-Man 2

Okay, so I was on my way to the dentist to make my monthly checking, when I noticed they were already playing Amazing Spider-Man 2 here where I live. So I decided to postpone the appointment and watch it, since, after all, I’m a Spider-Man movie fan.

I’ll admit, as much as I hate this aspect of mine, I’m not really, really big with the new Spider-Man trilogy. Ever since they announced it, I’ve been very ambivalent about it, and I didn’t really like it the first time I watched it. I mean, sure, I told my girlfriend I liked it, but I didn’t actually like it. The costume was pretty good, the main actor is on par with Maguire, the effects were pretty cool, the 3D was barely noticeable (she WANTED to watch it on 3D, damn it), but I wasn’t really into it. There were many aspects that I believe were handled better in the Raimi films.

That said, when the second one was announced, and the trailer came out, I was really, really hyped about it. I mean, there was Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as the Rhino, a new take on the whole Norman/Harry Osborne thing, Gwen and Peter’s relationship, and all that.

And I’ll admit, all those aspects were pretty well done: Foxx nails it as Electro, Giamatti’s unforgivably-brief appearance steals the show, DeHaan makes a perfect Harry for the kind of take they’re doing here, Emma Stone is hot as usual, and Garfield is great as Spidey as usual.

But there was something in the movie, mostly in the latter parts, that didn’t really seem to mix with the rest of the awesomeness of it. Especially after a certain scene in the latter parts of the movie. That said, though it’s pretty enjoyable overall, and even if the new Spider-Man movies aren’t of your liking, or you just hated the first one, I recommend this for at least a once-a-time viewing in theaters.


Just don’t watch it in 3D. 3D a shit.

Movies – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first half (so to speak) was building up to The Avengers, all the way: from Iron Man’s ending to Selvigg working for S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of Thor, everything was built up for this, establishing even the most minor elements that would appear in the 2012 epic.

However, in my perspective, it was actually building up to this particular movie instead.


Now, a sequel for Captain America: The First Avenger was highly anticipated since the release of the aforementioned movie in 2011. I myself was pretty excited to know it would take place in modern times and not be some silly side-story set in World War II or something (yeah, yeah, I don’t read a lot of comics, sue me; I just fap to the girls’ pin ups).

Either way, I was pretty hyped for The Winter Soldier when it was announced, and even moreso when I knew more helicarriers were appearing, Falcon was appearing, we were getting more of delicious Johansson in that delicious, skin-tight black suit of hers, and of course, the Captain in modern times, with modern weapons, and all that jazz.

But the movie completely, much more better than I would have ever imagined. It was complex, it was thick, and the action was amazingly done, with great, live action fights and great use of CGI. Captain kicks all kinds of ass, as usual, and his adaptation to the real world is pretty amusing and nice to see; his friendship with Falcon is also a highlight of the movie, and although it doesn’t spend an entire hour exploring it, it handles in the most proper way possible, making it a believable and cool friendship; Scarlett Johansson was cool when fighting the bad guys, and hot, as usual – and the same goes for Maria Hill at that; and Samuel L. Jackson is a badass, again, as usual.

Although it isn’t brooding and “depressing” like the Nolan Batman movies, it does share their sense of complexity, and, when you look at it and think about it, it is a dark movie in the end, and what boosts this aspect of the movie is that it is not done in such an obvious, “in-your-face” kind of way like in Nolan’s Batman films. It also makes you go out of the theater, and think about what happened, all the consequences of what happened, and speculate what will come afterwards (especially after those after-credit scenes).

This movie kicked all kinds of ass, and I personally find it to be better than The Avengers, due to all the reasons I mentioned above. The Avengers is awesome, but when it comes to overall nature, The Winter Soldier is a superior film.

Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What did you think about it?

Anime Nostalgia – Prefectural Earth Defense Force

Parodies are something that can go right or wrong in any medium, especially animation. However, one of the strengths of animation is that, like in writing, you can go wild with the animation because one isn’t limited by a thing called “reality”.

Animators all around the world inject parody to varying degrees in their work: whether it be call-backs to popular or recognizable things, or entire works that are dedicated to this, they do it. Cartoon Network originals, Bugs Bunny, even Disney, are filled with this.

The Japanese animation industry (a.k.a. anime industry) is filled with this too; the medium is actually very notorious of making countless references and call-backs to things of world pop culture -from locally, but well-known-in-Japan anime series to worldwide phenomena like Star Wars and Aliens, nothing is safe from being parodied in anime.

One of the most critically-acclaimed parodies in Japan was a manga series called Prefectural Earth Defense Force, which was released in 1983 and ran for two years, for four volumes. It was a success, as it contained delicious art, delicious girls, well-illustrated action and genuinely-funny comedy. It also happened to parody a very popular special effects series called Ultra Seven, which made it even more accessible to audiences in Japan.

Back in 1986 (which seems to be a year of release of many popular and famour OVAs and films like Gall Force), an anime studio called Gallop made an OVA based on the manga. Although it is a one-shot OVA, it is by far one of the finest gems of its time and place of origin.



The OVA starts off with a bangin’ opening sequence…I don’t feel like describing. Just watch it.

Excellent shading, great animation, catchy theme. It seems like it’s gonna be a typical, fun sci fi action movie.

Well, it is in the “typical” where one is wrong.

It is not “typical” as there are no aliens, monsters, or any other typical enemy to confront. Rather, the elements are, in the end, much more mundane and down to Earth. The “bad guys” are just stooges, whose only aspect of “normalcy” is them wanting to rule the world, but that’s about it. Seeing them in the OVA makes you wonder if they’ll be actually able to do so.



The heroes themselves, while completely into their own parts, are really just kids playing around. And no, the robot is just for show. It does have, however: cyborgs, super-powers, cute and sexy girls, and a ballin’ soundtrack. It also has Shuichi Ikeda (Char Aznable, Brian J. Mason, Kessler) voicing the main bad guy, and is by far the best performance in the entire OVA.ImageNow, Ikeda is one of the most famous, most profilic and best respected voice actors in the anime industry, right up there with Norio Wakamoto…no, actually, quite higher than Wakamoto, due to his role of Char Aznable in Mobile Suit Gundam. Pretty much every single role he does, whether major (Ulrich Kessler) or minor (Brian J. Mason), he nails them. He can play the gentleman or the ruthless, cold, calculating bastard. And something he excels at as well is comedy, one of the best, if not the, best example being his role as the captain of the alien ship in Project A-Ko, another highly popular product (in this case, a theatrical film) of the same year as Prefectural Earth Defense Force. Ikeda’s performance is charming and it is clear the actor is completely enjoying himself.


The only thing I can think of that is somewhat similar to this is the movie Help! with the Beatles. While watching it, I was reminded of it. I cannot explain why, mainly because Help! didn’t have any cyborgs, although thinking about it, the tone of both this OVA and the Beatles movie seems quite similar.

This OVA was, sadly, only released in the west until the mid-2000s, by A.D. Vision during its last years of existence. The DVD is pretty hard to find online, but it might be out there on the shelves of video stores. Either way, I recommend it. It is one of the true gems of its time.

Have you seen Prefectural Earth Defense Force? What do you think about it? Love it, hate it, indifferent at it?

Comment below, let me know.



Random Rambling – Alien 3 impressions


Everyone who is a fan of the Alien movie series/franchise knows the story behind the troublesome -you could even call it “chaotic”- production behind Alien 3: all the scripts that were forwarded and rejected, the issue the H.R. Giger, typical executive meddling, the cocktease trailer, and the enormously -perhaps one could say, even “excessive”- expectations for it.


Then there’s the reception for it: it didn’t perform like how Fox wanted in the states, only did decently in other parts of the world, and people involved in the previous movies felt that the film didn’t do justice to whatever was established before; Cameron was pissed at them killing certain characters in their certain ways of death, Biehn was also pissed at them using their likeness, and got quite some money out of this as a result. People weren’t as loving with it as they were with Alien, let alone Aliens, which was ingrained in pop culture with Hudson’s quotes and Vasquez and Apone’s Sergeant attitude – to the point that Hudson is used in image macros whenever someone wants to express despair, and geocities was full of shrines to even the most minor of characters like Crowe (remember Crowe?).

It reached a point when the director, David Fincher (Se7en) disowned the film because of how pissed he was at it, and most of all, the whole production process of it: the pressure to make a movie “worthy” of the previous two, the producers cancelling many of his creative decisions, shooting without a solid, finished script, and myriad of other things. Understandably, Fincher treats it how Cameron treats his flying Piranhas movie, perhaps even harsher.


As for me? I wasn’t old enough back when it was released. Hell, I must’ve been five or six when it came out. I had watched the first two films with my cousin (who would introduce me to pretty much everything I love today), in one those beautiful LaserDiscs. You know, the big, enormous, discs encased in some of the most beautiful packages ever? The ones that people now scorn at and sell for cheap on EBay?

So I was familiar enough with the franchise by the time I watched Alien 3 on television for the first time, many, many years later. By that time, I had browsed message boards and web pages where Alien 3 was (usually) talked shit at. Sure, you had the fans of it, who loved it, but they were usually silent. I for one wasn’t impressed with the movie, but looking back, I was heavily influenced by my online peers’ opinions.

Then the Quadrilogy set came out, and I bought it, and I watched the so-called Assembly Cut.

I loved it.


All the stuff that was added made one hell of a great film. But I never bothered re-checking the original cut. Not until recently, when I decided to marathon the films, just for fun.

And I must admit, the original cut of Alien 3 is as solid as the Assembly Cut.

I just watched (a few hours before I finished this post, actually), and I loved it. Every second of it. Well, except for that part when Ripley shouts “No!” in the final parts of the film, and the dated CG effects. But everything else -music, production design, acting, setting- was not only interesting, but it was well-enough executed to make one hell of an entertaining movie.

Although there’s no denying the Assembly Cut is vastly superior to the original cut, I’d say the original cut is fairly capable of being considered comparable to the other first two films. Sure, I’d argue that it’s not as scary as the first one, or as exciting as the second one. But this third entry in the series is its own thing, and has its own, unique qualities that make it a truly great film.

So overall, I recommend Alien 3 for anyone who is a newcomer to the franchise, or has never actually watched it. And the Assembly Cut? I give it an even bigger recommendation. In fact, I recommend you watch both versions. It’s really cool to compare them, see where the Assembly Cut improves on things.


So have you seen Alien 3? What do you think about it? Hate it, love it? Indifferent? Are you David Fincher and want to finally express your uncensored feelings towards it? Comment below, let me know.