Beauty and the Best


Thor: Dark World Review

blogEntryTopperTonight I had the pleasure of attending an advance screening for Thor:  Dark World by Marvel Studios.  I had high hopes after watching the trailers and was not disappointed! 
Where the first Thor involved the realm of the Frost Giants, the sequel delves into the realm of the Dark Elves and their leader, Malekith.  Malekith wishes to reclaim The Aether, an artifact of tremendous power from before this universe and lay waste to Asgard to make his realm supreme, above all others.  Once again all nine realms, including Earth, are endangered by one being's quest for domination and power.
Thor:  Dark World appeals with elements of action, magic, and science, as well as humor.  All of the important characters from the first Thor return, showing growth, and perhaps some damage, from not only the first movie, but from the events that unfurled in The Avengers.  As the movie begins, you see how heartlessly ruthless Malekith is by what he is willing to sacrifice to get what he wants.  Later you see how much he is willing to take.  His daring and total disregard for the pain and loss of others sets into motion events that forge an uneasy alliance between Thor and his estranged and adoptive brother, Loki
Thor:  Dark World has all of the Hollywood special effects you expect from an epic superhero movie, as well as great battle and fight scenes.  I was pleasantly surprised at some action scenes that I would not have expected from a Thor movie.  Ah, ah, ah!  No spoilers..!
I also have to take my hat off to Marvel Studios and the creative decisions they have made since its acquisition by Disney.  All of its movies since Captain America:  The First Avenger contain slight elements of the others woven in.  These shared nods and winks give an almost comic book-like appeal because they refer to each other in the same manner that comic books have for decades.  Each movie builds upon the older ones, and to truly understand and appreciate the more recent one, you must  have paid attention to the others.
As with all Marvel Studios movies, stay through the credits.  If you haven't learned this, yet, then I suggest you break out your old DVD's and Blu-rays to see what you've been missing for close to 10 years, now.  As a bonus, Thor:  Dark World has a secret credits scene after the customary secret credits scene, so don't just jet off once you've seen the first one.
All in all, I'd say that I enjoyed the sequel to Thor more than the original, and look forward to Marvel Studios's next project.

--Jason O. N. Roberts
Founder/Owner/CEO | Otaku no Baka, LLC and ALL Cool Things™
770.864.1042 |
JasonRoberts@OtakuNoBaka.NET | http://www.AllCoolThings.NET/ |

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Early Review: Pacific Rim Packs a Wallop!

I am not a big a fan of Guillermo del Toro.  While I do applaud him for his direction of creature and special effects, I have never really liked his stories.  I felt his effects took center stage with plot and actors trailing behind.  With this in mind I sat down to my free advance screening of Pacific Rim with moderate expectations.  I preface this review with my unflattering critique of his work because I do not want this review to sound like the hype of a fanboy that thinks everything del Toro touches is gold, but  I was amazed and stunned with Pacific Rim.

Without spoiling this movie I can tell you Pacific Rim takes place in the not too distant future.  Alien contact has been made, not from the stars, but from an Einstein-Rosen Bridge located in a crevasse in the Pacific Ocean.  Giant monsters, called Kaiju, come through the wormhole and attack coastal cities.  The countries of the world strike back with technological monstrosities of our own called Jaegers (pronounced Yaegers).  Technological and physical limitations prevent the Jaegers from being piloted by just one person.  Two must operate half of the Jaeger.  In order for this to work, the pilots must create a rapport and then sync with the Jaeger for direct bodily control.  The easier that two people can cooperate and feel comfortable with one another, the smoother the mental fusion is, and that makes for seamless control with the Jaeger; close bonds between pilots create a deadly weapon.


Well, the Jaegers work and kill the Kaiju almost too easily.  The pilots become something like rock stars and superheroes, with all the fame and swelled egos, but no one is prepared for what happens next:  the Kaiju evolve.  They get bigger, faster, smarter, stronger and more powerful, and start exhibiting new abilities that decimate Jaegers from what used to be in the dozens to a mere handful. The Kaiju are scary for the same reason Jurassic Park was so great.  Instead of just making monsters, del Toro made the Kaiju sentient, very dangerous animals.

Pacific Rim has great characters with great stories and great actors.  Each pilot has his or her own reasons for fighting, as well as demons he or she must battle in order to operate the Jaegers and share minds to effectively co-pilot the Jaeger.  The slightest hiccup could cause a glitch that would spell disaster.  Even the Jaegers themselves seem to have their own personalities.  This, combined with the special effects, make them very imposing and impressive figures in their own right.

The battles between the Jaegers and Kaiju are not slow and dramatic like the big rubber monster movies from Toho Films, or overly flashy and stylishly choreographed, like so many Japanese anime or live action films.  They also aren't as physically limiting as live action Western films.  It is a new genre unto itself.  The Jaegers are not humanly fast.   When they move, you do not forget that they are machines being piloted by two humans, but del Toro was able to more than compensate for their slow reflexes with the utility that only machines can have by having weapons and nigh invulnerable durability.


I also love the fact that this isn't just a movie about hot shot pilots or Rock'em'Sock'em Robots.  The science and research teams play just as big a role in this movie, which is another part of del Toro's brilliance.  Just when you think it might get a little too violent or physical, the science entices you with innovative means of countering the Kaiju insurgency.  Del Toro even manages to squeeze in humour that does not feel forced and does not betray wit for the groundlings.  This movie does what most movies have not done for a long time:  It is the total package that anyone can enjoy, and remains white knuckledly suspenseful until the end!

I haven't felt this way watching a movie since I saw Star Wars. The movie is rated PG-13, but I don't remember a single actor cursing, and there wasn't a single bit of racy or suggestively sexual content in the entire movie.  While it will come out in theatres everywhere, I cannot stress how much I suggest that you see it the way I did:  on an IMAX screen with 3D.  Pay the extra $10.  You will thank me for it.  Also, speaking as a person that usually waits for videos to watch at home on my 42 inch 3D TV, I say RUN to the theatres and see it just like I did.  You will not be sorry.  Go all out.  Even spend the $20 on snacks or food.  You will not be disappointed!

Jason O. N. Roberts
Founder/Owner/CEO | Otaku no Baka, LLC
770.864.1042 | JasonRoberts@OtakuNoBaka.NET | http://www.AllCoolThings.NET/ |

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Top Ten Sexiest Women in the DC Universe

Since a lot of you liked the Top Ten Sexiest Women in the Marvel Universe, I thought the DC ladies were due their time in the sun.  So, without further ado...

Number 10:  Death of the Endless
Death is the second oldest of The Endless, a family of anthropomorphisms  of basic concepts of existence.   She appears, to most, as an 80's Goth girl, wearing an ankh necklace and an eye made up like the Eye of Horus.  Despite her job, she is the friendliest of all the Endless, including Destiny, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium.   Other sexy DC ladies of the Dark include Traci 13, Cynthia, Umbra, Nightshade, and Lex Luthor's niece,  Nasthalthia Luthor.


Angel and Sam
Number 9: Angel Beatrix O'Day

Interestingly enough, this character was a brushed off and recycled character from the romance comics of yore, in a time when superheroes had not really taken off, yet.  Angel  is one half of the dynamic duo of Angel  and  the Ape.  She and her partner, Sam Simeon (grandson of villain, Gorilla Grodd!) get into adventures while solving crimes.  Other fun DC beauties include Quantum Queen and Fire.


Number 8:  Rose and Thorn (Rhosyn "Rose" Forrest)

Rose became a vigilante after her father, an officer for the Metropolis Police Department, was killed by a gang called The 100.  Her mind created an alter ego, Thorn, that went on a crusade of revenge against crime.  Thorn gets a sexual thrill from punishing evil doers.  She is not to be confused with her Golden Age counterpart, a villain that ended up marrying Alan Scott (Golden Age Green Lantern) and having two children with him (Jade and Obsidian).  Other sexy DC sadists include Cheshire, Syonide, and Sylph.


Number 7:  Encantadora

Encatadora is a mercenary and hitwoman with magical powers derived from her "Mists of Ibella." She also secretes pheromones that make men do her bidding.  She has had some light dealings with Superman while trying to kill him and being saved by him.  She has also tried to seduce him, but failed due to his noble character.  Other DC beauties that bend men's wills or use magic include Poison Ivy, Allure, and Witchfire.


Number 6:  Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance)

Like her mother, Dinah Drake, Black Canary is a potent and lethal fighters in DC Universe, but far surpassed her.  Touted as able to outfight The Batman, Black Canary also possesses a sonic scream that is more powerful than Silver Banshee's.  When channeled correctly, her scream can go so far beyond audible sound that it can knock even Wonder Woman unconscious, and also allow her to read minds by syncing up with brainwaves.  Other hot DC pugilists include Batgirl, Lady Shiva, and The Huntress.


Number 5:  Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn is the sexy counterpart to The Joker, or "Mister J" as she likes to call him.  Harley Quinn was the first DC comics character created outside of the comics.  Harley Quinn did not start out as a villain, but as Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel.  As a psychiatrist studying The Joker, she was seduced by his web of lies and sad luck stories.  She has increased agility and extreme resistance to poisons and drugs due to her tenure with Poison Ivy, via injections.  Other sexy DC love interests in villainy include Talia Head, Magenta, and Catwoman.


Number 4:  Wonder Woman


You knew she had to make the list, even if she is not as high as some of you think she deserved.  Wonder Woman was created by psychologist, William Moulton Marston, who enjoyed swinging, bondage, domination, and role play, and also pioneered the polygraph.  Her original powers and weaknesses betray these facts.  Wonder Woman possessed strength just out of Superman's class, yet she could be rendered powerless by having her wrists bound (bondage).  Her magic lasso rendered her targets powerless and compelled them tell the truth against their will (bondage and domination).  Marston  was also aroused by large silver bracelets, like the ones worn by both Wonder Woman and his lover.  Other examples of sexy DC powerhouses include Big Barda, Knockout, and Giganta.
Number 3:  Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris)


Please do not get me wrong.  All of the Star Sapphires have been fine, from the original, to the one formerly known as Fatality, but Carol Ferris (based off of Elizabeth Taylor), in my humble opinion, was the finest of them all.   Carol Ferris was Hal Jordon's boss and lover at Ferris Aircraft before becoming his adversary as Star Sapphire.  The original role of Star Sapphire was the chosen queen of the Zamarons ('Female counterparts to the Guardians of the Universe, because for a long time, Guardians were only male.)  but has grown into a full corps on par with the Green Lantern Corps, with violet rings fueled by the power of love  Honourable mentions include all other Star Sapphires.


Number 2:  Power Girl


Power Girl
'Stronger than Supergirl.  'Better built than Wonder Woman.  Able to out-jiggle Harley Quinn with a single bounce...!  Okay, I'll stop, but you get the point.  Power Girl almost made it to Number 1 for all of these reasons and more.  Her past is very disputed as it has had more than its fair share of retcons.  From being an alternate reality's Supergirl, to being a descendant of Arion of Atlantis, I'm not sure if anyone knows who or what she is.  She has abilities similar to Kryptonians and Daxamites, which have fluctuated with writers, but has always had a keen mind and business savvy.  Funny comments have been made about her breasts by the likes of Black Canary and others, including Batman, who used them as a distraction against Toyman.  Sexy DC juggernauts also include Supergirl, Andromeda, and Maxima.


Number 1:  Starfire


I have held a candle for
Koriand'r since I started reading Teen Titans.  She has always been depicted as extremely kind and naive, and with no sense of human taboos; she learned English by sharing a kiss with Robin.  Naturally super strong and durable, she also has energy manipulation and projection abilities.  However, due to genetic experimentation, she has abilities well beyond those of other Tamaraneans, and is one of the most powerful aliens on Earth.  She also has expert combat training that has enabled her to best the much stronger Troia.  Other sexy DC Teen Titans include Troia, Raven, and Wonder Girl.

So, that's my list.  What do you think of it?  How does it compare to yours?  Like I've said in the past, my lists are not absolute, but something done for fun and to start a dialogue with readers with.  We at All Good Things TV would love to read and respond to your comments, so send them in!

Jason O. N. Roberts
Founder/Owner/CEO | Otaku no Baka, LLC
770.864.1042 | JasonRoberts@OtakuNoBaka.NET | http://www.AllCoolThings.NET/ |

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Top Ten Anime Series Part 2

I hope you all enjoyed the first half of my Top Ten Anime Series.  Here's Part 2!
Number 5:  Urotsukidoji

This is the only hentai anime on my list, and it deserves it.  While many otaku my age had Akira as their first real anime experience, this was mine.  Urotsukidoji is a story about cosmic rebirth and destruction.  In this story there are three worlds:  The World of Beastpeople, The Demon World, and The Human World.  A legend of the Beastpeople tell of the Chojin, bourne of the human world, who will recreate the three worlds and unite them into an eternal kingdom of peace.  Amano Jyaku is a beastman that believes it is his destiny to find the Chojin, and searches with his sister, Megumi, and Kuroko, his perverted imp-like minion.  While Amano seeks the Chojin out of the prospect of peace, the demons wish to destroy him for their own reasons.  Urotsjkidoji spans 6 parts in 16 OVA episodes, but really shines in its first 2 parts.  The story telling is thrilling and extremely erotic.  The art is some of the best art I have ever seen in my life, and is completely without CG due to when the first parts were made.  The movement of the characters is lifelike in all actions (I'll leave it at that.).  Lighting and sound effects are excellent, in fact, the THX tone from Lucasfilm actually comes from a sound effect from Urotsukidoji (hmmm...).  This was also one of the first, if not the first "tentacle hentai."
Other good anime in the genre include Angel of Darkness, La Blue Girl, Violence Jack, and Devilman.
Number 4:  Berserk
Berserk is one of the manliest anime ever.  Berserk centers around Guts (sometimes erroneously referred to as Gatsu due to common phonic incompatibility between English and Japanese), who is also known as the Black Swordsman.  Guts is a battle-hardened one-man army on a mission of revenge against the established ruling nobility.  Berserk shows how Guts became the Black Swordsman, and his career with the Band of the Hawk.  The Band of the Hawk is led by Griffith, Guts's one time enemy and closest friend.  Caska is Griffith's lieutenant, and is the greatest warrior in the Band of the Hawk, after Griffith and Guts.  Tensions and attractions between all three ebb and flow to create a great back-story to the plot.  Berserk has all of the dramatic elements in it:  battle, love, betrayal, rape, murder, ambition, good, evil, and the question of the nature of man.  Berserk culminates in all of these elements in one act of moral depravity.
While I cannot really think of any anime that truly shares the same spirit as Berserk, Record of the Lodoss War is an epic fantasy anime with many of the same elements, but not as intense. Claymore is also a violent and bloody anime of revenge.
Number 3:  Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop - All Characters (Wallpaper - 1024x768)
"And the work which has become a genre unto itself shall be called: Cowboy Bebop"  These words were used in a prophetic commercial intermission bump for Cowboy Bebop.  Before Cowboy Bebop, never had space travel, bounty hunting, action, love, loss, philosophy, and unique story telling been married in such a perfect blend.  Even the filler episodes are delightful and add to the story, rather than detract from or derail  it.  Cowboy Bebop's characters are three "space cowboys," or interstellar bounty hunters, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine.  They are brought together by strange circumstances from their pasts.  Edward the hacker(a girl) and Ein the "data dog" aid them in their pursuit of criminal bounties and provide comic relief to the series.  Working and living out of their mother ship, the Bebop, each of the crew tries to come to terms with the demons from his or her past that they can no longer run from.  The art is top notch and was one of the first anime to feature what I remember being termed "silver tone magic."
Anime series that share the spirit include Outlaw Star, Dirty Pair, Neon Genesis Evangelion,Trigun. Samurai Champloo, and Lupin the 3rd.

Number 2:  Bleach
I have to start out by saying that Bleach is my favourite recent anime made.  To me, Bleach is like Star Wars because it combines ancient elements and seamlessly incorporates them with more modern ones.  Bleach's main protagonist is a teenager named ichigo Kurosaki.  Besides being bourne with bright orange hair, Ichigo also has the ability to see and communicate with spirits.  His life is completely changed when he encounters a shinigami, or soul reaper,  named Rukia.  Rukia is mortally wounded by a hollow and is forced to transfer some of her spiritual pressure to ichigo to fight the hollow because he has supernatural abilities already.  The interaction makes him a "substitute soul reaper."  Like most great anime series, Bleach has an eclectic group of characters that support and oppose Ichigo.  I also like the treachery that occurs throughout the series among many of the characters.  It is still being translated into English, but I have watched the entire series in sub, and it was a bitter sweet moment to watch it end.
Other spiritual adventure anime include , Death Note, Saiyuki, Kekaishi, Devil Hunter Yohko, and Yu Yu Hakusho.
Number 1:  Ranma 1/2
ranma anime
My absolute favourite anime of all time is Ranma 1/2Ranma 1/2 was written by Rumiko Takahashi, one of the most talented and well-respected anime artists and authors in the business.   Ranma 1/2 is a romantic martial arts comedy about Ranma Saotome who is betrothed to Akane Tendo.  Ranma and Akane's fathers, Genma and Soun, were students and sole heirs to the "Anything Goes School of Martial Arts," which prides itself on no holds barred brawling in which every style, weapon, or technique is considered fair play.  Akane  is a tomboy that does not like boys.  What complicates things even more is that Ranma is cursed by changing into a girl whenever he is splashed by cold water.  The only remedy is to be splashed again, but with warm water.  Most of the conflicts occur when other powerful martial artists arrive with crushes on Ranma, Akane, or each other, and all are forced to fight for love.  Many of the cast are also cursed with amusing transformations.    Ranma 1/2 has great awkward romantic moments.  The fight scenes are unique and action packed, and have more dramatic and cooler sounding moves than Street Fighter. The stories have to be seen to be believed.  Rumiko Takahashi raised the bar with all of her anime series, and has more favourite series than any anime artist or author.
If you enjoy Ranma 1/2,  you will most likely enjoy some of her other series like Lum, Maison Ikkoku, Rumic World, and InuYasha.  Tenchi Muyo!, Devil Hunter Yohko,  and Kenichi:  The Mightiest Disciple are also good series that are very similar.
In recollection, for
Part 1, there were some honourable mentions that I neglected to make:  Number 9- Star Blazers, The Transformers and Thundercats, and Number 8- Paranoia Agent and Shin Chan.
There are also some anime that never really piqued my interest, but have a good buzz, like
One Piece, Gantz, and Naruto.
So there you have it.  In my opinion, these series are the best in the business and the reasons that I love anime.  Some of them are not the best animated by today's standards, but this is also an age when every anime is showroom perfect but a toss-up under the hood.
I think if you give them a chance, you will definitely find something you like and possibly a new favourite.
Did any of these make your list?  What do you like?  Share it with us.  Share it with your friends.  We'd love to hear from all of you.

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