Saturday, September 29, 2012

Milestone!



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"Liam, a social worker at the community center in Edinburgh falls in love with his co-worker Bunny. But unlike Liam, Bunny has a past, a thick one... And it is up to Liam to see if he can trespass those many obstacles and prove his eternal love. Will Bunny change herself for the better, in order to actually deserve Liam's kind heart?"


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Monday, September 24, 2012

Homework Assignment: (Presentation) Tsukasa Hojo

This year I am currently doing a media specialization while majoring in English and for one of our classes we had to present a work of art of your choosing. I decided to choose the following picture, of which you can read my description below and check out my classmates work on the teacher's website here:

Tsukasa Hojo (1986?)
Ryo Saeba & Kaori Makimura
Drawing
Cover art for issue 11, Italian numbering


Japanese manga artist Tsukasa Hojo has been one of the most influential writers from 1980's to the 90's.
His first manga to catch the eye of the public was entitled Cat's Eye. A series that featured three sisters who operate a café during the day, and worked as thieves during the night: their father has disappeared and they are trying to recollect his art work to decode a message. The second manga was City Hunter, whose two main characters you can see in the picture. The story talks about Ryo Saeba, a sweeper in Tokyo, whose partner Hideyuki Makimura dies and afterwards he takes in his sister Kaori. The two fall in love, however Ryo denies all of his feelings. All of this because he wants a better life for Kaori: being private investigators, assassins for hire isn't every father's dream for their children. To understand the picture you need to understand one character: Ryo. He keeps pushing Kaori away and acting as if she was the last person on the planet he could ever be attracted to. That is why on the picture you see her as a sex symbol as she hugs herself and pushes her breasts up a bit. Yet Ryo keeps staring at his lighter. He is a big time smoker, so the lighter is one of the few accessories that is never missing from his pocket. You can also see that a light shines on Kaori, while Ryo stands in the shadow. This is because unlike Ryo, she still has a chance for a better life, while being brought up among soldiers on the battlefield - there is really nothing else he can do as a profession. The picture also recreates Kaori's feeling of being completely alone while there is someone standing right next to her.
In 1991 City Hunter ended and even though plenty of animation shorts have been created since by other artists, it wasn't until 2001 that Hojo decided to continue the series with a little twist. This was Angel Heart: set in an alternate universe where Kaori dies and her heart is transplanted into a young girl, Shan In. She has the same past as Ryo, being brought up as an assassin, but she wants to get out of this lifestyle. Ryo adopts her so Kaori's heart stays near him and he gives a chance for Shan In to have a life where she is surrounded by family instead of assassins.
Manga artists have fantastic skills and their drawings are often collected into illustration books once a chronicle ends. Three complete books by Tsukasa Hojo containing City Hunter art have been published. These contain drawings and paintings made during and for the manga series - as well as the cover artwork. People don't even think about the incredible work that goes into creating cover art. "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Well, everyone does and manga artists have to make sure to come up with something that will raise interest in everyone when they get onto the shelf of a newsstand. I believe that this image would catch the eye of everyone and gratify the readers who followed the story from the beginning.
I am huge comic book geek (as you can find out from by blog), however City Hunter is my absolutely favorite manga of all time. It has the most charismatic characters ever drawn on paper and some of the best adventures. I also love detective stories and these are spiced with romantic features just enough to satisfy the female, without losing the male audience. I think of it as a classic, and so far everything categorized as such is considered to be excellent. Trust me: this manga qualifies perfectly.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear Mr. Critic...

THE DEATH OF THE NOSTALGIA CRITIC

Dear Mr. Doug Walker!

You don't know me, unless you googled yourself and on the 7000th page you found my blog. But I am pretty sure you didn't... on your site thatguywiththeglasses.com I also have an account, I am CsorEsz91, but I never read comments because although your followers seem to be a lot more human-like than YouTube commentators, still, I don't like to read them. And I am a firm believer that my comments never reach the people to whom I want to talk, so I just end up not commenting. I did, about three times, but that is all.

I remember, that about two years ago me, my brother and my sister were looking for nostalgic 80's cartoons on YouTube when a video by you appeared (I believe it was He-Man). We watched it and laughed as hard as we have ever did in our lives. Even though those videos were stolen and reuploaded, they still had your site on the bottom so we found our way to the Glasses mansion and discovered a lot more than we hoped for. I remember that what made me happy above everything else was that your reviews were still going. We watched all of your nostalgic videos in about two weeks (my brother only comes twice a week to visit us!) and we couldn't wait for new ones! What really caught our attention was that we could find plenty reviews on new works, but we don't really care for them. We read slashfilm, we watch Breakin' It Down with Catherine Reitman, and the Bum Reviews, but all those horrible movies from our pasts and all the movies that we did love still needed a kick in the butt: you were that kick.

What I remember most vividly was watching your "The OTHER Animated Titanic Movie" review and it was in that moment that I decided that I wanted to write down movie reviews too. I know that people barely read them, I'm not very optimistic, but I find writing to be very therapeutical and I believe I have to thank you for pushing me toward that direction. Your rage and yelling and always complaining... it was a bit much but it made me realize that I have plenty to complain about as well! :)

But I do have to admit that I don't watch Ask TGWTG, nor any of the specials really. My brother watches them and then he tells us the important information and/or we rewatch them together. But I had no idea that you were going to kill this character. Yesterday we finished To Boldly Flee and I was just sitting there like "What the fuck just happened?". Then my brother clicked on the video and then this happened:


I was crying, I'll confess. THANKFULLY I can still look at Lindsey's (Nostalgia Chick) stuff if I want to be really nostalgic, but still, it is not the same... I will admit however that your character has changed drastically. You said in your sort of goodbye video that it was hard for you to come up with more ways to hate things - while in the beginning you didn't really hate everything. You did point out when something was silly or even stupid, but I remember plenty reviews were you still liked the things you reviewed. Really, why couldn't you go back to that? And seriously, Scooby Doo for last review? I did not like that review at all.
I actually like that movie, but I do concur that it has plenty dumb elements, even though I find that it is not the worst movie ever made... All this is beside the point. The point is that I might be the dumbest person on the planet but no - I did not figure out that you were going to kill the Critic. How?
I never thought of the Critic as a character. For me you were the Critic who did a couple of characters, like the Bum or Zod. And you were still the Critic when you reviewed new movies, you weren't nostalgic, but still. What I want to say is that I understand why you had to do it, but I am an eternally weird person: I don't even think of The Simpsons as something that is ran into the ground. I think of it as a series that people want - and as long as people and fans will watch it I do not see the point of cancelling it. For me you are Firefly and I look forward to every cameo as fans looked forward to Serenity (you need to be a real sci-fi geek to get this reference!). Still I am really sorry that this happened. I did not see it coming.

Looking at your video I can see that you are plenty more enthusiastic about your new works, so I decided to trust you. Still, the reason why I decided to write is and will be because of The Nostalgia Critic made me do it. I am not famous, my views aren't really high, although I can't complain, I am proud to have reached these numbers on my own. And I don't think I will stop because you did, after all, we have nothing to do with each other and I shouldn't be so sad about it... yet. Yet I am. My own enthusiasm level is now below zero.

I do not want to blame you for that, no. Actually I want to thank you. You opened up a whole new world for me, you've given me the chance to see that people with their stupid artistic views have a chance to make something of their lives thanks to the internet. Although Hungary is still far from making money from this, you made me hopeful. Thank you for that, thank you eternally.
I am and will always be your biggest fan Mr. Walker and I am looking forward to what you have planned for us.

Goodbye Nostalgia Critic, goodbye.

Yours truly,
CsorEsz91

PS: I am not the only one who thinks so, but please, WE WANT MORE PUPPET CRITIC!! Thank you Lindsey for that!!

Nostalgia Critic art work created by TheValentineBros - click here to see their deviantart page!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

(Comics) Blacksad

In March I accompanied my dad to Brussels to a conference, and one of the afternoons we decided to go to the Belgian National Comic Strip Center. In the gift shop I've found many of the things that I knew from my brother's shelf: The Adventures of Tin Tin, Asterix and of course Lucky Luke. But, as I strolled around and looked at posters, I've found him: Blacksad. The sexiest cat I have ever seen in my life. You heard me! He is hot! And immeadiately I wanted to know more, so I got my hands on the comics.


Blacksad was created by Juan Díaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (artist) for a French audience. The spanish version followed usually a month later; and Dark Horse Comics released a translated version after the original American publisher declared bankruptcy. The whole comic is compiled of four numbers that stand completely separate from each other, although there is a thin line that connects them. The series even recieved the Eisner Award.

The stories are set in an alternate universe where humans don't exist, only animals do, but they behave and dress like humans. It is also set in a film noir style, our lead being a private investigator in the 1950s. Our main character is John Blacksad a black cat. He also has a sidekick, a reporter by the name of Weekly, who is the most annoying weasel he knows - but is also the most trusted ally he's ever had. Last but not least, Smirnov, a German Shepherd who is the police comminissioner in their town. He is a good friend of Blacksad's, although he doesn't always agree with his methods.

The first number of the series was Somewhere Within The Shadows. This story tells us a bit about Blacksad's past, as it is his ex-girlfriend's murder that he has to investigate. She was Natalia Willford, a known actress. Although originally he was only her bodyguard, their attraction toward each other was clear soon. The two however parted ways and while trying to find the killer Blacksad goes through a line of corpses. Everyone seems to be hiding someone, which creates the possibility that someone quite powerful is behind her assassination. Blacksad discovers that the killer himself is a frog - the biggest businessman in their town - who killed Natalia because she cheated on him. But Blacksad cannot hold back his anger toward the kind of men who believe they are above the law and he shoots him in the head.

The second number was Arctic Nation.This storyline is a bit more serious as it is basically a social commentary against segregation. The animals with white furr (polar bears, Arctic foxes etc.) behave like nazis towards every other animal, especially the ones with black furr, among them Blacksad. But this isn't his town, he was called here to investigate the death of the mother of a little deer girl. His search leads him to the Polar Bear, Karup, who had fathered two children with a black furred lady. The mother and her sister try and take revenge on him, however the mother dies trying. The horrible missions of the nazi group is discovered and although it is because of this murder, still, it is in this story that Blacksad meets his sidekick Weekly for the first time.

The third installment of the series is entitled Red Soul. In this storyline we are given another glimpse of Blacksad's past, as he meets up with his old school teacher, Otto Liebber. However this is one of my favorites because Blacksad has a romantic storyline, precisely with professor Liebber's assistant Alma Mayer. Turns out that the professor used to work for the nazi regime and he helped create nuclear weapons. This doesn't go so well as the government is trying to rid of their connection with the professor and in the process frame Alma's fiancée and Blacksad as well. Blacksad manages to get Alma away from the FBI, as her fiancée set her up instead of him, and the two fall in love. But just when they get a chance to elope together, the FBI arrests Blacksad. I don't want to spoil the ending for you, trust me, this one you'll want to read!

So far the last pubblished number of the series is The Hell, The Silence. I have pretty weird feelings about this one as I find it to be the saddest and yet the most beautiful of all the stories. Also it is set in New Orleans and I love those stories, an example of my favorites would be The Princess And The Frog.
Anyway, the story tells us that Blacksad and Weekly have been hired to find a drug addicted musician, Fletcher by his manager, who is terminally ill with cancer. However he finds another connection among the two, the cancerous patient's son is in love with the girlfriend of Fletcher. But during their search for him the girlfriend goes into labor and the son forbids Blacksad from seeing her. Finally Weekly arrives to tell him that he has found Fletcher - but when they get to him he is already dead because of an overdose. Blacksad discovers that the man who commissioned him actually has a rare genetic disease instead of cancer and he uses musicians to gain money in order to help clinical research along so his son won't go through what he will.

So you can see the thin line that connects the stories, but they are excellent on their own as well. What I appreciate as a fan is that I like very much both  Weekly and Smirnov, and they alternate between stories, giving you always hope that no matter what kind of mass Blacksad gets himself into, someone will dig him out of the hole.
The art work is fantastic, the stories are great. I especially recommend it if you are a film noir fan or if at all you enjoy alternate universes - it is a win win. A Blacksad postcard I bought in Brussels resides on my shelf and every morning I wake to his smile, it is great. You might not come accross it unless you look for it, but if you are a hardcore comic reader, trust me, you'll want this in your collection!