Editorials Reviews

8-bit impressions


Instead of spending hours writing about just one series, this week I’ve dragged myself in the opposite direction and reflected on four of my current favourites. There’s no real reason for the Tekkon Kinkreet image above, except to say that it’s one of the finest examples of fan-art I’ve clapped eyes on; tobiee is an amazing artist, but I digress, on with the show.
Gundam 00 – I’ve realised something shocking; I like Gundam 00. Similar to my time with Toward the Terra, it took a while to get under my skin, but by now, I’m watching new episodes as soon as they’ve aired. Boasting a plot dense with mystery and a number of conflicting ideas about war, philosophy and religion, I’m anxious to see whether or not the intervention of Celestial Being will result in the evolution, or destruction, of the modern world. At times, it’s breath-taking, especially the spine-tingling conclusion to episode 15, but the character designs (and therefore, the character’s themselves) are too contrived.
oofuri.jpgOokiku Furikabutte – I know nothing about baseball, but after a few pointers from my trusted colleagues, I started watching Ookiku Furikabutte last week, and already, I’m hooked. Like Fighting Spirit, regardless of game-specific quirks, it offers some quite heart-felt, relatable depictions of emotion, friendship and psychology. We’re granted profound insight into the thoughts of the players stepping out onto the hallowed turf, on the very brink of being consumed by worry and self-doubt. For example, protagonist pitcher Ren Mihashi begins as a Shinji Ikari-level introvert; annoyingly timid, but his transformation into a confident, happy butterfly will be an inspirational moment to behold.
shigurui.jpgShigurui – An early start to this past weekend saw me devour the last two installments of Shigurui and while I was prepared for its abrupt finish, I’m frustrated that I’ll never know the outcome of Irako’s final battle. Still, Kogan Iwamoto’s death was mightily rewarding. In a story where every character thinks nothing of inflicting cruelty and murder, the old-man was the most vile of them all; poor Irako (blind), Iku (one-nipple) and Mie (insane) deserved that bloody revenge. Indeed, alongside Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen, this is one of the finest samurai anime I’ve seen. It’s violent, corrupt and without compromise.
Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji – What is there that’s left to say about Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji? Fact is, it’s awesome; everyone agrees; the end. In the most recent episode, our hero was shaken in despair and within millimeters of a mashed ear-drum, all courtesy of crusty old yakuza sporting healthy delusions of grandeur. It’s almost impossible for Kaiji to escape unscathed, and yet, even as I write this, I’m savoring his inevitable victory, the big fat red letters about to be scrawled over Tonegawa’s wrinkly forehead that read ‘o-w-n-e-d’. I mean, our hero can’t lose; if I have faith in anyone, it’s faith in Kaiji.

Music spotlight – Discovered at ‘Music For Robots‘ was this fun remix of the Mega Man 2 soundtrack by retro splicer Johan Agebjörn (the fantastic video was authored by Lichterloh). I mean, platform games, don’t they look great? It’s probably the nostalgia speaking, but there’s something about these 8-bit remixes I just absolutely, totally, completely adore, even listening to the first few seconds will recall a pang of feeling or emotion from an era long since past. Enjoy the echoes of memory!

17 replies on “8-bit impressions”

In this case, I doubt it’s just nostalgia; the main part of that remix, the BGM for the first stage of Wily’s castle in MM2, is an awesome tune. I wonder if there is a electric guitar version in the web? *goes search*

i think D.gray man is the best right now (i used to dislike it)
gundam ep18 was epic
last episode of Kaiji (18) made me doubt he will win while logic tells me he must win that show how good is the mangaka
as for Shigurui i thought that Irako was the winner or may be i hoped for that as he was my favorite character mmm i will look for the manga to see about that
and where is onepiece?

I don ‘t understand why more people aren’t making TTGL jokes about Kaiji right now (‘My drill is a drill that will pierce the eardrum!’).
And (similarly slightly to my surprise) I am also interested to see what Celestial Being do.

Of the 4 mentioned shows I’d say Gundam 00 is the most intriguing (intrigue yes!I’ll get to that later in the post) As for the rest…I’m not fond of Shigurui or Ookifuri, I’ve just come to dislike sport shows in general after the abomination that is prince of tennis. As for Kaiji, call me shallow but I can’t get over the designs and the nose..oh the god awful noses. Gundam 00 IMO is a gem. Its fantastic in every single way, showing no signs of letting the steam off. Animation and art is very solid, story is interesting..I guess I have a thing for political intrigue, the characters are nicely fleshed out. I love the new ED, Stephanie’s Friends is such an amazing song juxtapositioned with sea of blood and the maestros in pain all wrapped in the essence friendship and such. As for the latest episode its not only epic but a reflection of whats currently happening in our world, I don’t want to spoil so you’ll know what I’m talking about once you watch it.

not being able to get over art in anime to give the story a chance is like refusing to watch schindler’s list or casablanca or citizen kane because its in black and white. seriously this is why people missed out on the great Kemonozume and Terra even tho i absolutely loved the animation in both shows. i cannot stand gundam 00, infact after watching underwhelming gundam wing and turn A gundam i dont think i can ever watch gundam again. the original gundam seed is just incredible. it blows everything else gundam away.

I think of that list the one that most interests me is Ookiku Furikabutte . I tried to get into Gundam 00 but it just isn’t my thing.

I had no idea that that was the last episode of Shigurui… Shocking. Well, no matter how much of a downer that is, the show is nonetheless a great watch, brutal and yet totally breathtaking. It never once gave me that feeling that intrudes on a lot of my anime-viewing lately, of slipping out of the narrative stream to criticize or compare to other series… No, even though the cast was filled with crazies, it was never outside of capability of the animation, direction, or voice acting to pull off. It maintained a state of heightened intensity, every fight gaining a higher stake in the plot. I only wish I could see the resolution…
Also, I’ll have to check out Ookiku Furikabutte, since you just name-dropped one of my fav shows :).

@Nemo_N: Yeah. I have bad memories of Tetris remixes, but this music from platform games like MM2 is often full of melody and fun to listen to. Apparently there’s this whole musical movement coming to the fore right now making use of classic 8-bit tunes.
@qwertypoiuy: I thought Irako would win that final match too, given he takes his “stance of certain victory.” Wouldn’t be much of an attack name, otherwise! As for One Piece and Naruto, I tend to watch them in batches… I haven’t watched One Piece since the beginning of that filler arc with the Icebergs… I’ll get back to it soon enough, I’m sure!
@IKnight: I’ve never been good at coming up with clever jokes, and come to think of it, I’m also doubting the popularity of Kaiji, I’ve always presumed it’s at least as popular as things like Persona/Devil May Cry, but I’m starting to notice how a lot of people just aren’t watching it. Also, you checked out the soundtrack yet? I didn’t realise it was Hideki Taniuchi, but now that I think about it, several of the more rocky songs are a lot like his work on Death Note. I really love the music in both shows, and Otogi Zoshi ain’t too shabby either!
@kauldron26: Yeah, I see some vague similarities between Gundam 00 and Toward the Terra, mainly that both shows are overflowing with bishonen and feature a lot of plot-driven sci-fi. The difference is the characters; where Terra was full of human complexity, Gundam is a lot more contrived and flat with too many one-note characters like Setsuna F Seiei. It’s funny you’d praise Gundam Seed because I’d say that Gundam 00 is a lot better than that series.
@Ivy: The new OP and ED for Gundam 00 are great, though I didn’t mind the old ones either. My only problem with the show, as I’ve explained above, is the use of one-note characters, we’re still not inside the heads of any of the four protagonists, especially Setsuna. I’d suggest you give Kaiji a shot to impress you, but I suspect, given your take on Shigurui, you’re not really into “hard boiled” anime anyway.
@Kim: The only thing I can offer with regards to Gundam is just to give it a bit more time to really hook you in. I wouldn’t consider myself especially interested in the series until around episodes 12-15. With that said, I think you’re more likely to enjoy something like Hakaba Kitarō; a lot of the creative staff from Mononoke are contributing to that and it shows in the animation style. I’m still waiting for an opportunity to sit through the first four episodes.
@Dan: I must admit, even though I knew it was the last episode, I went and double checked at Wikipedia just to make sure. I suppose there’s a remote chance the manga will be released? Anyway, in case you’re interested, the fansub group behind Shigurui recently released a 5 minute TV interview with the Shigurui manga-ka, it’s well worth looking at considering how much you enjoyed the show.
Also, did you click the “Fighting Spirit” link I posted above? Some awesome action right there.

Yeah, the Kaiji OST is good fun, though because I lack musical taste and hadn’t bothered to check the composer, I wasn’t aware that it shared parentage with Death Note‘s. But now you point it out, I can see the similarities.
As far as I can tell, those who are watching the show like it, though of course those who tried it and disliked it will have dropped it by now. But – although it’s relatively obscure in the ‘Anglophone otakusphere’ – I’ve been told it’s quite popular in Japan, and with an audience who don’t normally follow more standard anime.

It’s a real shame about Ippo… From what I remember, it wasn’t that well received in Japan and they shut down the anime series prematurely. It would’ve been great to see more of the journey. Argh… I’ll give up Bleach, I’ll even give up Naruto, if the anime gods could just do me this one favor. Maybe bring back HxH too…

@Dan: IIRC, it’s like one of the longest running manga series in Japan. I do wonder if Ippo ever meets Miyata in the ring again, their whole story-line seemed too important in the anime just to fade away. I guess we’ll never know, because I doubt there’s enough people to want to even scanslate such an epic story.
@kauldron26: I didn’t know about that. I’ve never seen an episode of FLAG… Must check it out sometime!

Wow… that video sure brought back some memories. It was the only video game that we had. I used to wake up early some mornings and when I was bored, I’d just play through the first part of the game. I had it down to where I could beat all of the bosses in a half hour.

“I guess we’ll never know, because I doubt there’s enough people to want to even scanslate such an epic story”
Last time I checked all of the Ippo manga has been scanlated to date and is regularly updated with each new weekly chapter. I’ve still been too lazy to acquire/read any of it yet though, mainly cause I’ve still to watch past ep 8 of the anime (though my 2 brothers have finished my DVDs and both agree it’s one of the best anime they’ve ever seen).

@Necromancer: I stand corrected, said the man in orthopedic shoes! Anyway, that’s an amazing achievement and surely makes it the longest-running scanslation project of all time?
@Protodude: Second video on that list… Epic vocals! 🙂 Actually has a bit of punky vibe to it.

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