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Hairstyles And Space Guns

Whatever happened to bows? I mean the kind girls wear in their hair. I never see them anymore! Ribbons too, though I’d say that fits into the same category. Why throw such a wonderful idea by the wayside?
The same applies to skirts, but I’d better clarify; I mean neither the really short, tight skirts (those just look terrible), nor the really long ones (those are quite obviously old-fashioned, and went out of style for a reason). We’re talking about a nice, health median between the two.
Both bows and skirts are basically unicorns now; mystical things I always want to see, but never do.
In short, women’s fashion these days sucks; at least where I’m from, and I aknowledge that I could be totally off the mark and I’m just looking in the wrong places.
So women, why not take this opportunity and put a ribbon in your hair when you go out next? It looks so cute! I probably sound really stupid saying this, but I’m sticking to my guns here; both these things need a comeback.

Today I’m in a reviewing mood. Probably because I just saw these movies and want to talk about them; you know that feeling you get when you see something that you find interesting and you just want to share? Don’t get me wrong, it usually happens in a “HOLY CRAP THIS IS AMAZING I HAVE TO TELL SOMEONE” sort of way, but this is just something that tickled my fancy.

So there’s this manga in Japan called Gantz. If by some happenstance there is someone reading this who doesn’t know what a manga is, it’s a Japanese comic. I read what there was of it, and I was intrigued. Does it have an intricate plot or some fresh new story mechanic? Well, no. But I liked it anyway, and was thrilled when I saw this movie adaption. So here’s the basic synopsis:
It’s about two childhood friends, Kei and Kato, who get run over by a subway car while trying to save a homeless person and suddenly find themselves in an ordinary apartment room. It’s completely unfurnished, the only thing in it being a giant black ball and several other people, all who also “died” in some fashion. The black ball (named Gantz) starts playing old radio calisthenics music, and words appear on the surface, telling them their old lives are over and their new lives are his to control. It then shows them a picture of an alien, tells them to go kill it, and BOOM! Out of the ball pops several drawers of guns.

Oh come on, admit you’re at least a LITTLE interested by this point. Alright, here’s a few more details. One of the drawers holds a bunch of cases with black suits in them; eerily all tailor-made for each one of the people stuck in the room (though few of them even bother to put on such a ridiculous-looking thing). What they figure out later is that the suits give you super-human powers.

Oh yeah, and that girl above? She’s another main character. Her name is also Kei, but for the sake of distinction, I’ll use her surname, Kishimoto. She slit her wrists in a bathtub, but instead wound up in the room.

And the final detail: the guns. They look like crazy space guns, and when fired, they operate on a time-delay; after a few seconds, whatever they were fired at explodes (I know, cool, right?).

So anyway, these people are thrown out into the world and are forced to kill aliens. Some of the people don’t have much of a problem going about this (there are a fair amount of people in the room, and some of them are huge assholes), but some have a sort of moral dilemma. First off, are they dead? How’d they wind up in that room, why are they being told to go kill aliens, and is it alright to? Are the aliens invading? Do they NEED to be dealt with? Or are they just trying to live their lives, and is Gantz some kind of evil overlord who is making them kill the aliens for its own twisted ends?

The movies go into this a lot more than the manga, which in my opinion really got drowned underneath all the fan-service. Seriously, that comic basically seeps naked girls and pointless sex scenes out of it’s every pore (yeah, that’s a hell of a bizarre image I just gave you). The movies really lift the otherwise interesting story out of this mire, and go interesting places with it. There are two movies in this series by the way, Gantz and Gantz: Perfect Answer.

Once they kill the aliens, they get teleported back to the room where they get points based on their performance. When they get one hundred points, they… well, just go watch the movie, I’m not going to tell you EVERYTHING!
They get released back to their old lives after the scoring, but get teleported back again and again periodically to fight more aliens and gain more points, each time wondering if they’ll get killed or be forced to kill.

The movie has got some interesting things to say, it’s got kickass action sequences (all of which operate in a very manga/anime-like way, which is pretty cool. That scene on the train at the beginning of Perfect Answer? WHOA that was awesome!), and it’s got some nice characters; Kei, the morally-ambiguous selfish guy (less pronounced in the movies than the manga, but still there), Kato, the selfless hero who is desperately trying to provide for his little brother, and Kishimoto… the girl. Seriously, she’s basically just there as a love interest. She’s got a nice back-story and her character is certainly well-rounded, but she doesn’t serve much purpose in the Gantz arena. Not to say she’s useless in the plot, they just could have done more with her.

If you’ve got a spare evening or two, give these movies a shot. I watched them subtitled in Japanese (because the idea of watching an English dubbed live-action movie is DUMB) and I quite enjoyed the ride. Don’t expect anything too deep, but I’ll say this; this movie beats the crap out of a lot of blockbusters released here.

Less-than-eloquently yours,
Brendon “wants one of those suits” Regier


Dreams And Kana

Do you ever feel like all you have is normal dreams? Like dreaming about just doing the laundry or surfing the web? Honestly, sometimes I just want to sit down with my subconscious and teach him how to use my imagination correctly. Such a vast plethora of images and scenes to choose from, and I always end up dreaming about mundane tasks? Maybe I just don’t remember the kickass dreams where I grow really tall and kickbox with Godzilla or stuff like that.
You know what’s even worse than about dreaming about ordinary things? When you have something you need to do, like say an essay to write (this acutally happened to me back in high school), and you DREAM you did it, but you actually didn’t, so you go into class feeling confident and just have this “oh shit” moment and you curse your brain for having played such a cruel joke.

I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that having sexual dreams is a healthy thing. So where’s all my dream sex? Or maybe that just applies to teenagers in puberty… or maybe I’m just wrong about that whole thing…
And while we’re on the topic of dreams, I remember the most unsettling experience I had concerning them. So here’s the dream: I was lying down and I noticed my camera lying on the ground next to my bed. So I casually flip it open, and check the review… and it was the most disturbing series of images I have ever seen. It was torture pretty much all the way through. I have absolutely no idea where my brain got those images from, but holy crap was I scared out of my mind. I have no intention of attempting to remember exactly what the pictures depicted, all I know is that it was horrifying.
I jolted awake, and was so disturbed I immediately went to grab my camera and checked the review. Obviously, there was nothing there, but I was on edge the rest of that day. I don’t even want to hear what Freud would have said about that dream. Maybe it’s better I just have mundane dreams after all!

Anyway, so I’m learning Japanese (as you may have guessed from the title AND the category this post is in) and it is AMAZING. I cannot describe how much I am in love with this language. Almost every phrase that has lost all meaning to me in English sounds beautiful and fresh in Japanese. I know most people say stuff like that about French or other such languages, but honestly, I’ve never really cared for French. It’s probably due to the fact that being Canadian, I had that language firmly shoved down my throat in elementary school, and thus developed a loathing for the sound of it (screw you Canadian school system! You’ve ruined French for me!).
I’m using the Rosetta Stone software for most the spoken aspects and an app for my iPod Touch to help with learning the Hiragana and Katakana. I’ve never been good at memorization, so getting those symbols to stick in my head is tough going! The words, on the other hand, come pretty easy. That’s probably because I enjoy watching anime, so I had already absorbed a lot of Japanese words beforehand.
The going is sort of slow at the moment. The program just sort of throws you into several words and phrases and repeats them until they are so trapped in your head only an mental earthquake could vacate them. It’s a good way to learn, but it does feel like a grind after a while. I’m also not sure if I should learn with the words displayed in hiragana/katakana to help me learn the symbols better or in romanji (the roman alphabet) so I can understand the words better. Decisions, decisions!
So far, constructing sentences is a little out of reach, but I’ve learned plenty of words, albeit some ones I doubt I’ll use much. I can say stuff like, “I’m eating an red apple” (boku-wa akai ringo o tabete imasu… I think…), but not much else. However, if I suddenly find myself in Japan and the entire well-being of our planet’s existence depends on me being able to communicate that I’m riding a bicycle or eating rice, then I’m set!
I know it’s a process and it’ll take a lot of time for me to be able to carry on a conversation in Japanese, but there is that burning desire for instant results, you know? The more I learn, the more excited I am to reach that end goal of fluency. Sure the going is tough at times, but that’ll just make the end result all the more worth it!

Arigato Gozaimasu!

Less-than-eloquently yours,
Brendon “I’m turning Japanese” Regier

P.S. The scenery over there sure can be beautiful. I wish we could have more Sakura trees over here in Canada (or maybe I’m just in the wrong province).