Sunday, July 8, 2012

State Of The Kaijyu: To The Game Platform!

When we were last here, blogging duties almost immediately dropped due to sudden changes in living environs as well as the inevitable move closer to the Los Angeles area (which I am currently still in the process of digesting - something that will undoubtedly be a constant since one never truly gets a complete handle of the city, especially this one) And Hakaider was in no way something I truly wanted things to stop with, so I do apologize for that. There's also the issue of not having much to any time to watch, let alone evaluate anything during that amorphously hectic period of time. And while there's been no better reason to leave things consistently silent, I will say on these pages that getting to better know the new surroundings, as well as what manner of access I have to even greater patches of media and expression, has been truly liberating, not to mention nerve-wracking. What does one do when the entirety of one's world is shifted so dramatically by a mere 18 mile move?

Tends to older, questionable habits of course!

During the 4th of July, I was invited to make a "weapons" stop and drop at a local used books/comics shop in North Long Beach called A Castle Of Books, which was host to a great number of goodies from past to present. Was surprised to see the unexpected amount of anime history/toy weirdness that lie inside. And within all that came several finds that just plain baffled and amused.

On the baffling side was running into several issues of the long-lost Star Blazers comic originally published in 1987 by Comico..

Not that these are any kind of major find in regards to quality, but they are a fascinating peek into the early days of anime awareness, and tie-in business. But seeing no Captain Okita, and also a decent amount of "new" characters is pretty weird. This is also skipping the fact that much of the books are very rough and not altogether coherent. It also feels like a very scrappy attempt at early fanart based on mere ideas and concepts of Yamato, not so much on the show as a whole. Weird, weird stuff.

And continuing on the analog media train, the store also had a decent amount of VERY forgotten anime on VHS. I immediately broke out the footstool for this, as I hadn't seen a lot of these in well over a decade now. And the one I couldn't help but pick up due to its rarity, and the weird looks I still tend to get upon mentioning it to other anime fans, the first two episodes of TRSI's very limited release of the in many ways criminally underseen Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko OVAs. Before the cult TV version came years later, it was this lightweight piece of science fiction goofy that came across me during the very end of the 1990s, ad charmed me in ways few shows do now.

For the unfamiliar, SGYY tells the tale of a thousands-of-years-in-the-far-future company's stake in a new form of warfare - grand scale space games take the place of bloodshed on a battle field. And with access to time travel technology, their best hope of working out grand disputes between nations and rival interests, is to assemble teams of brilliant arcade gamer girls capable of piloting company-owned spaceships to participate in often absurd wargames well-off planetary orbit. And being one among millions, cocky, tomboyish Yamamoto Yohko is the newest recruit, who seems to have little trouble getting the feel of her new situation, regardless of the often dangerous rivalry of the Red Snappers, a team with a supposedly bulletproof reputation.

So yes, the OVA version of the "story" is more comedic than anything else, but the freewheeling attitude of the show that just asks us to bask in it's idealized and often silly world makes for a fun "summer" diversion for those looking for cute girls and harmless action. And on top of that, the thought that this was a big Star Child vehicle for some of the 1990s biggest seiyuu talents(including Minami Takayama, Megumi Hayashibara, and Yuko Miyamura), makes it a much more potent piece of 1990s nostalgia for me to be honest. And yes, it's just fluff and a seiyuu commercial with a lot of quirky humor, and no real story. But at least it doesn't pretend to do so. (That's for the later series) For now, it's just a lot of latter 90s fun that leaves zero aftertaste, and very little in the way of creepy. Definitely something of a so-called guilty pleasure. Especially when considering that the anime's director was none other than a man called Akiyuki Shinbo!

So that's it for this morning. Plans for new posts and even more podcasts are very much in order. It has been far too long friends.

More fun than eating bananas while watching crocodiles!

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