Depending on how you celebrated Feb. 14, hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day or National Single's Awareness Day! As you may or may not know, the Naruto contest is in full effect and you still have a chance to win a ONE-YEAR COMBO Anime Membership, valued over $100!! Runners up with get a prize pack courtesy of Great Eastern Entertainment. For more information, check out the news feed here. Good luck to everyone participating.
On the surface, Durarara appears to be a fairly formulaic anime, a series worth a glance, but not deserving of true viewing devotion. There’s a young man in a new and bustling city, a super-powered vigilante and a bunch of gang issues. None of these elements are highly unique, nor do they appear to mesh in a particularly fascinating way.
On the surface however, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a show about giant robots and evil “angels”.
Directed by Takahiro Omori and based on the manga by Ryohgo Narita and Suzuhito Yasuda, Durarara is an anime that will have you remembering exactly why you love the genre in the first place.
Firstly, let’s talk about the animation. Only one word shall suffice; gorgeous. Actually, make that two words; gorgeous and fluid. There is not a single blemish to be found on screen as the characters and environments mesmerising conduct the most mundane of activities. The colours are exemplary, and each scene is a testament to “Brain’s Base”; the production company behind Durarara.
Now, while your busy treating your eyes to the feast that is Durarara, you may happen upon a sudden realisation. The music too, is phenomenal. With a neo-classical score bookended by the upbeat opening and closing themes; “Sunset of Betrayal” by Theatre Book and “Trust Me” by Yuya Matsushita, respectively. The music never outshines what is appearing on screen, however, merely complimenting the visual aspect when necessary.
Nevertheless, were Durarara merely a visual and auditory triumph, the series itself would be a failure. There is a reason the first three Star Wars films are revered, and the second reviled; pretty does not mean entertaining. Thankfully, Durarara delivers on all accounts. Durarara’s primary plot derives itself from the experiences of Mikado Ryūgamine and his new residence in the city of Ikebukuro. However, Ikebukuro is not a charming Metropolis, but rather a city haunted by the legendary Black Rider, a mysterious vigilante. Oh, one more thing; this “Black Rider” also goes by the name “Headless Rider”, three guesses why.
In addition to the obscure Rider, Ikebukuro is home to a collection of “Color Gangs”, and whilst most have been shut down by the police force, there is mention of an ominous group known as “the Dollars”. Who they are and what they desire is part of the intrigue that is Durarara.
Something that some viewers may find off-putting about this series is the rather large cast of characters. However, Durarara’s cast is well developed, with each characters having their own unique eccentricities and enticing features. Whilst trying to recall every character’s name can be taxing, it is not reason enough to forego this thoroughly enjoyable experience. Nevertheless, it is an issue the viewer should keep in mind. The series also features lengthy exchanges of dialogue, which means that if you’re not a fast reader, keep your finger poised on the pause button.
Despite the serious tone of the anime, Durarara makes use of one of the most delightful sources of humour; meta-fictitious self-evaluation. In the first episode, the protagonist’s name is considered so cool it could be likened to that of “a star of a manga series.” While these fourth-wall-breaking jokes can sometimes be jarring, they are rare and help distinguish this series from the multitude of other shows on the web.
This article may seem like a lengthy advertisement for Durarara, and in some ways it is, because Durarara is deserving of any praise it receives. A surprising delight that comes highly recommended; after watching the first few episodes you’ll either love or hate this series, but one thing is certain, you’ll still be thinking about it long after the credits have finished rolling.
Oh, and there’s parkour. Who doesn’t love parkour?
I have always heard the term hard-boiled, but never quite understood what it really meant until I saw Cobra. Quite simply, it was all about the sideburns, mighty dandy ones just like the protagonist Cobra's. This Heman meets Megaman meets Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall = utterly invincible hard boiled super hero comes back once again to save the entire solar system! How can you resist him?
Cobra is a popular S.F. manga series published through 1978 to 2006. For those who are unfamiliar with Cobra, the series starts with Johnson, an ordinary employee for a trade company, one day going to the Trip Movie, a futuristic service where the guests are able to virtually experience their dream. In his dream, he became Cobra, the maverick space pirate who ventures across the universe fighting the Pirate Guild. On the way home, he suddenly remembers that the dream he just saw was his actual past, and in order to hide from the Pirate Guild, he surgically altered his face and erased his memory. After this incident, with his presence revealed to his enemies, he decides to go back to his old life out in the space with his side kick Lady Armaroid.
One Christmas Eve, Cobra collides into a truck, completely demolishing his new car. Inside the truck he finds a glamourous woman by the name of Secret, whom he decides to protect from the Pirate Guild who were after her. Their purpose is the key Secret holds, which she desperately tries to take to the Planet Galon in order to prevent its catastrophic collision with the sun.
As the newest animation for the long lived manga dating back from 1978, it conserves its retro aesthetics, while at the same time glazed with the latest digital luster and accompanied by the musical conventions of 2010 anime standard, resulting to look somewhat like a very strange parody of its own. Although it is by all means a contemporary anime, Cobra surely is quite different from the rest of contemporary anime. We no longer see the super machismo protagonist, the overly voluptuous heroine, or an antagonist who makes an evil laughter as she departs, to the degree we see in Cobra. It is an extravaganza of dead stereotypes, carefully preserved in the thirty year old time capsule. Compared to many anime becoming seemingly more homogenized these days, Cobra is ironically refreshing despite its old age.
Coming from a different generation, I was never really familiar with Cobra. At first I was worried my lack of knowledge would interfere my viewing experience knowing how vast the original manga was, but whoever shares this same concern, please forget about it. With Cobra, there is no need for concern. Just relax and treat yourself with breathtaking actions, mind blowing battles, inflaming romance, and extraordinary hairdos. You will soon find yourself trapped in the retro future world.
Also remember not to miss the ending song by Shigeru Matsuzaki, who is known to be the tannest man in Japan. He was very much involved with Cobra animation from its beginning, performing as the character voice for Cobra in the 1982 animated film Cobra Space Adventure. As soon as I found out he was singing for Cobra, I knew I had to check this show.
Bringing you the top stories from the past week in case you missed it:
Cartoon Art Museum currently running manga and anime exhibit:
The Cartoon Art Museum located in San Francisco California is currently showing the exhibition “Drawing the Sword: Samurai in Manga and Anime.” This exhibition showcases the evolution of traditional Japanese art of the 19th century to that of modern 21st century cel style animation. Evolving alongside the art work is the Japanese Samurai, whose image has become rather iconic around the world largely in part due to the worldwide acceptance of Japanese animation and manga. Some of the titles displayed include Afro Samurai, Bleach, Evangelion, Gundam, Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champloo. The exhibit is currently running now and scheduled to continue until May 2, 2010. For more on this and other exhibits, check out the Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco’s website http://cartoonart.org/
Ultimate Ninja Unleashed!
Earlier this week, Namco Bandai Games Europe has announced its plans to release Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 for both the Xbox 360 and PS3. According to Namco Bandai Games Europe, this is the first game based on the global hit manga and anime to appear on both sets of consoles. The company plans on launching this across PAL territories in autumn 2010.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 will allow players to play against all their favorite characters, hear the original Japanese voiceovers, explore a seemingly infinite amount of unlockable features and will have the chance to see Sasuke wearing an Akatsuki costume throughout the storyline! Naruto is the #1 best-selling manga across Europe, with the hit anime TV series currently broadcast worldwide to massive audiences. Viewers looking for a one stop location to get their Naruto and Naruto Shippuden fix can always do so at Crunchyroll.com which streams the latest episodes every week.
Ryusei no Namida set for US release:
Chikaki Kuriyama’s Ryusei no Namida (Tears of a Falling Star) the theme song for the anime Mobile Suit Gundam UC is according to Anime News Network slated a United States release. Kuriyama made a personal appearance at the world premiere of Gundam UC in Hong Kong to announce her song’s global release. Kuriyama an actress (Kill Bill, The Sky Crawlers) makes her singing debut with Ryusei no Namida. The CD single will ship in Japan on Febuary 24 and will be followed by a United States and Canada release on March 2.
Having arrived at the village, Hotaru parts with Naruto and his team. But the Magaki Troops are one step ahead and threaten Hotaru to hand over the forbidden jutsu. Utakata appears, and Shiranami recognizes him as a bounty listed in the Hidden Mist’s bingo book...
The other personality which exists inside Renas. The woman who once should have fought to free the Meats. In order to make the wish embedded in Ylucklucu come true, Volken and Olivia head to a mountain hut in Darai Mine. There, they do battle with Hamyuts and her slingshot. Volken, beliving in the justice of the Armed Librarians, accuses Hamyuts of committing atrocities. His Dancing Blades fly. At the same time, the other personality inside Renas rushes to Ylucklucu. Before that happens, she is ambushed by abandoned Meats of the Church of Drowning in God's Grace!
Claus delivers several letters to Clocktower Fortress in early summer. When they see who their letters are from, Noël is happy and Kanata is overjoyed. Rio curses, and Kureha looks at them all, a bit sad. The 1121's Platoon's members each respond in a different way. And a letter arrives for Filicia. A letter that will change all of their destinies forever, a letter that begins everything...
Word of the Day
のり塩事件（のりピー、お塩）(Pronounced - noh-ree-she-oh jee-ken): This pop-culture phrase is used to sum up the recent arrests of singer Noriko Sakai and actor Manabu Oshio due to their substance abuses.