I’ve always thought the sun setting was a sight to behold, and that the gritty feel of sand between my piggy toes from an all-day affair at the beach was humbling. But do I feel gratitude for having witnessed or experienced such occurrences? Surely I should, and I do, yet it behooves me to confess that sometimes I don’t. We humans more often than not take advantage of what we presently have. We are spoiled rotten by the notion that the sun will indefinitely set every afternoon, that the waves lapping against the sandy shore will never cease its motion, or that our habitat will remain forever hospitable and abundant. What we have in our grasp at the moment is the hindsight to avoid the loss of something dear to us; an opportunity that Ura and his generation in Pale Cocoon do not have.
Ura and his peers exist (I say exist because I wouldn’t consider their way of being as “living” per se) in a world completely deprived of history and of memories. Undoubtedly, they have the technology to remain alive, but not much else can be done for them in their situation. Ura is an analyst who works in the archive excavation department. He uses high-tech computers to recover lost data in hopes of uncovering any links to the past. He literally thrives on rummaging through binary code whereas his co-workers, day-by-day, slowly and unfortunately start to lose interest in recovering their past. Aside from Ura, everyone else seems to accept their state of reality as is, and don’t wish to hope for anything more, lest their expectations fall short. Riko, one of his co-workers and probably his only companion, said it was “better to not understand the green world, or the fact that humans destroyed it” because their generation didn’t want to be reminded of their own human stupidity. Sadly, they subsist in fragments of the former world.
Pale Cocoon instills a certain kind of fear in me, mainly because our lifestyle now could lead us to a mock version of Ura’s world later down the road. Most of us just take and take and take, and give nothing back in return. It saddens me to think that a world void of vibrancy and color, void of emotions and opportunities, could await us in the near future if we don’t make changes now. Ura himself, when we first meet him, seems to lack emotions. He is a grey, infinitesimal character who has an obscure flame of hope inside his heart; everyday he works to dig up the past, to find out what his current life is lacking. He is monotonous, nearly robotic in his activities. One fateful day, however, he comes across a broken audio/media file and endeavors to restore it. His curiosity is peaked, and only then do I see any semblance of color, of livelihood in his piteous life. Upon restoring the file, his existence takes on a whole new meaning, and now he has a reason to live and to dream. What could possibly be on the media file that made him change so drastically? I’m not telling!
The term “pale cocoon” refers to the world Ura is trapped in (you’ll see where it is if you watch the movie!), a world untouched by nature. It sets a firm example of how important record keeping can be, and how we as humans should cherish and protect Mother Nature instead of harnessing all of her resources for our selfish needs. We need to give back to the world as much as we take. We need goodwill in our lives! Or, we can say bye-bye to life like Ura’s generation did, and forget how to live altogether. After watching this movie, I realized that one of the most important things we need to do as a whole is to treasure our memories, and remember our past so as not to repeat the mistakes. Pale Cocoon is a quiet, beautifully drawn thriller, a thought provoker. It’s a message, a faint cry for help from our little blue planet.
Speaking as a British person, the butler has become an intrinsic part of the stereotype that has been built around my fellow countrymen. Well, I hate to disappoint you but I don't have a butler nor do I know of anyone who is a butler. I have seen my fair share of butlers on TV shows though such as Jeeves and Wooster and the character of Parker in the classic Thunderbirds; but these examples are blown out of the park by the distinctly un-British iteration of the butler archetype seen in the hit series Hayate no Gotoku.
Hayate no Gotoku, penned by Kenjiro Hata, is the story of how Hayate Ayasaki's life went from bad to worse when his parents gambled away his organs to a dodgy yakuza. Now I could completely understand how this revelation would turn your world upside down; but how do you get from narrowly becoming a yakuza shish-kebab to being the servant of a petulant tweenager? Well, how else? The classic misunderstanding on the part of the leading lady, Nagi Sanzen'in. Through the wholly original(!) act of saving Nagi's life, Hayate wound up head of the Sanzen'in household and is at the young brat's beck-and-call day and night. However unlike regular butlers, whose most taxing duty is to make tea and generally be subservient, Hayate must protect Nagi from merciless marauders sought to pillage the family's vast fortune. So far, so stock. However Hayate no Gotoku finds a way to differentiate itself, rising above all other wholly generic-type anime.
It does use slapstick humour to good effect in many instances that do amuse this weary and wizened twentysomething critic. However the fact that it's willing to poke fun at itself, other anime and hit TV shows displays a self-awareness that could be considered either ingenious or audacious (I leave that up to you, dear reader). The closest anime I can think of off the top of my head to Hayate no Gotoku would be Mahoromatic by Bunjiro Nakayama. In both anime, Nakayama and Hata use their main protagonists (maids and butlers) in evermore unorthodox and intriguing ways in order to push along their tenuously short premises for as long as they do. Despite this, they both use a figurehead of servitude as their lead when they could've easily just used another angst-ridden teenager. Why? Because somehow it works!
Why are maids and butlers blessed with anime dedicated to their seemingly thankless existences? This is simply due to the fact that in Japan, they are popular with many demographics. Anyone who calls themselves an anime fan knows all too well of the maid cafés that are littered across the streets of Akihabara as well as the occasional anime convention. Butlers and maids are there to make their masters feel superior and important; that is their main objective. Who doesn't want that? They make their client feel special and that's why ultimately these character types are popular. The cafés of Shibuya staffed by foreign (mostly British and American) butlers that tend to their female 'masters' with the utmost attention and diligence do justice to my supposition on the subject. Their complete adoration towards you may only be temporary, but it's enough to make anyone's day after a long and exhausting bout of work.
In the usual framework, the butler is left to the side; there to clean up the mess the lead characters leave behind without question. Not so in Japan. They have been given not only their own series based around them, but also the added twist of superpowers and heightened abilities that would blow Jeeves into the middle of next week!
Today we are interviewing Zeronite, a British man who doesn't have funky teeth. I know, amazing ain't it? He's been a Chat mod on the site since September 2007 and isn't slowing down. Unfortunately for him, he agreed to be interviewed by me. I don't think he knows what he's got himself into!
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BasouKazuma: Hey Zeronite, how's it going!? How's life? Any serious injuries? Zeronite: No thankfully, despite the 4 flights home from the U.S. Life is okay... aside for the horrible jet lag. BasouKazuma: Yea, jet lag blows. For future reference for both of us and the readers: Bring a pillow since airplane seats suck. Zeronite: I had one of those neck pillows but it wasn't that good. Maybe I just have a weird neck I don't know, but it seems to work for everyone else.
BasouKazuma: So you're a mutant, that's interesting. Any super powers? Zeronite: I have the power to get under people's skin REAL easy. BasouKazuma: That sounds disgusting. D= I think we should move on. Zeronite: I meant that figuratively and literally. Maybe metaphorically? >.>
BasouKazuma: What do you do for a living? IE: School, Work, etc Zeronite: Currently I'm a Uni student at Stafford, in Computer Games Design. I'm unemployed at the moment, don't think they'd have let me take an 11 week break from work to fly to the U.S. BasouKazuma: Well some lucky bastards get those long breaks =( Zeronite: I have to make room to travel a lot, it sucks..=(
BasouKazuma: Don't copy my smilies! Anyway, how do you like the school life? Zeronite: Love it, love 3D modeling and designing levels. Schedule is kind of random but I can't complain.
BasouKazuma: That's cool, do you have any small games that you've made as projects or is it all modeling? Zeronite: Well I made a multiplayer map for Team Fortress 2, I didn't release it though because I always feel I can add to any map I can finish. Other than that I've made 3d version of random rooms, bedrooms, living rooms etc. I've not done that much yet because I kept having to put it on hold.
BasouKazuma: That's alright, you have plenty of time. I'm sure you'll be part of the modeling and design of Team Fortress 3 and Left 4 Dead 10 which will come out the same year. (gaming joke that you readers may or may not get =\) Do you have any favorite developers? Zeronite: Well one of my lecturers worked for Codemasters and then Rare, who were both some of my favorites (especially Rare). Other than that I would say Blizzard and Valve. Oh and Bungie. There's more but those are off the top of my head.
BasouKazuma: Is Rare still around? Last I heard of them was when they did Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. (I think that was them @_@) Zeronite: I think they remade Conker's Bad Furr Day not long ago, that's the last game I played. I think they might have merged, went under or something since.
BasouKazuma: Yea that sounds about right, Conker's Bad Fur Day was awesome (but I wouldn't recommend it to most of you due to the adult themes). What else do you do in your spare time other than be on CR and go to school? Zeronite: I would say play video games, drink, travel and watch TV. I wish I could say I still worked out but I got kinda lazy. D: Oh and I follow MMA (Mixed Martial Arts).
BasouKazuma: What type of things do you watch on TV other than MMA? Well what's your favorite show? Zeronite: Stupid crap like Family Guy, American Dad, the Ultimate Fighter, Red Dwarf, etc. BasouKazuma: Family Guy has gone way downhill lately. Zeronite: Well I can never get into TV series like Heroes, CSI and Lost. P.S. Torchwood sucks. BasouKazuma: I can't say much I guess, I'm pretty behind on TV. I never heard of Torchwood but I'll advise our readers to not watch it. =D Zeronite: Some people like it but I don't ... I could be just a boring person though.
BasouKazuma: Boring ... this is very possible. Have you seen many movies this year? And if so, were there any that stuck out or are there any you are looking forward too? Zeronite: District 9 was really good. I don't have anything I'm looking forward to at the moment but I can tell you a little about the ones I saw. Like I said, District 9, Inglorious Bastards, 9, Up, Bruno, The new Harry Potter, were all good. Out of all those I'd say definitely got see District 9 and Inglorious Bastards, those are probably the standouts for me.
BasouKazuma: District 9 was good but I just didn't like the main character. He was such a jackass lol. Anyway, I guess we should talk about that site called Crunchyroll. How do you like being a moderator? Zeronite: I like it, I like keeping the chat rooms a pleasant place to be and I like the community. I try to just be myself around the users and speak my mind. I don't really pay attention to the forums much but that's left to the Forum Mods. :D
BasouKazuma: What kind of questions do you receive the most from people on the site? Zeronite: There's not really any one question I get all the time, usually it's random things to do with peoples profiles. Bugs with guestbooks and their inbox, that kind of thing.
BasouKazuma: Well is there anything you wish people wouldn't message you about? Zeronite: Oh now that you mention it, "Why was he/she kicked", I get kind of sick of that. It's usually whenever I'm kicking idlers. BasouKazuma: Yea, that sucks when you have random people butting in. Zeronite: And they'll freak out when I kick a bunch of people who are idle. I don't mind so much it's just in the rules. BasouKazuma: No one reads the rules, pshhhh. Zeronite: >=[ yeah
BasouKazuma: Have you been watching anything on Crunchyroll or is there anything that you would like to see be put on here? Zeronite: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, there's like 2 series and a 3rd one on the way I think. I'd also say Claymore but they're done with it and I saw them all. Full Metal Panic and Full Metal Alchemist, as well as Hellsing. I've seen some of these but still It'd be cool to have a place to watch them when I like. I know the guys are doing their best to get us more licenced anime though, and if they could we'd already have them at CR. BasouKazuma: Yea, that stuff takes time and lots of sushi bribes. Zeronite: Still CR is the first place to do this for anime, gotta admire that. Wish I'd thought of it first though >.>
BasouKazuma: Yea the staff here is just crazy enough to think of it first. =P Hopefully we'll be able to get those series but we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Who are your favorite buddies on the site and do you have any messages for them? Zeronite: Hmmmm gosh, there's quite alot so I dunno if I can message all of them. BasouKazuma: Don't worry, they'll give you hate mail if you don't mention them Zeronite: ok well.. GreenPoison: Please come back! - Arano: Speak English better! - Nicole: Quit being so busy! - Kippu: I don't know what message to say to you! - Bedlam: Dance worse please - Red: Please come back and help me chat mod. - BasouKazuma: like idk, you're right here so.... Everyone else, sorry I missed you and keep visiting the chats (didn't wanna give you a huge list)
BasouKazuma: Awww I was listed. *discreetly gives you the money promised to you for listing me* Zeronite: Thanks, you get your deposit back if you don't edit it to make me sound dumb.
BasouKazuma: Haha well thanks for your time Zero, we'll see you around on this roll we call crunchy. Zeronite: Thanks, and don't be shy people. I'm approachable, contrary to popular belief!
Two factions - The Armed Librarians and the Church of Drowning in God's Grace - have been doing battle since the dawn of recorded history. Hamyuts, leading the Armed Librarians, sends Volken and the others to attack the enemy's ship, the Silver Smoke, in order to free those who've been captured by the Church. However, once they succeed in breaking through the enemy's defenses they are witness to quite the scene...
One day Lag Seeing finds himself shipped. His mother abducted by someone, he's now just a package sent by her to be delivered to a friend's house. Gauche Suede is a Letter Bee, a member of the Amberground national postal service, who is tasked with delivering this "letter," together with his partner Roda. The still young Lag rebels at Gauche's seemingly emotionless focus on his work, his heart still reeling from being torn from his mother, but as they head into a valley they are attacked by a ferocious creature known as a Gaichuu.
Word of the Day
気をつけて (pronounced: key-oh-tsu-keh-teh) - This can mean a variety of things such as "be careful" or "watch out" based on when it's used but generally, it means "take care". So, if someone is going off on a trip, it is common to say 気をつけて.