26-April: The Knightmares Begin!!

On 26-Apr-08, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (pronounced Code Gee S) comes to the U.S. in its stateside premiere on Adult Swim!! Code Geass won the award for Best TV Anime Series at the 2007 Tokyo International Anime Fair and is highly acclaimed by viewers everywhere. This comes as exciting news since the final episode of the awesome Blood+ series aired last Saturday night-- 22-Mar (Wormgear is sad). :-(

Let's just hope Adult Swim doesn't F*%k this up and decide to stop airing it mid-series to play more stupid crap like Harvey Birdman or Frisky Dingo.

Be sure to tune in to Cartoon Network and watch! I am really excited about this one as it should be excellent.


Return of the God of Death

I was so very pleased with the Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵) figure I showed you on 13-Mar-08 (waiting the background, above) that I decided I MUST have the whole Vagabond collection (please wish me luck-- all of these figures by Fewture are now discontinued)! Here is Shishido Baiken -- the legendary master of the kusarigama (鎖鎌, chain and sickle), who was defeated in a fierce battle when his fingers were sliced off by Musashi.

Baiken is in reality, of course, Tsujikaze Kōhei. Musashi crosses paths with Kōhei early on in his mushashugyō (warrior's journey) during Kōhei's quest for deadly revenge against his vile older brother, Tenma.

Baiken is shown here with all of his fingers intact, ready for his fight with the renowned swordsman. The fight began when Musashi requested a demonstration of the kusarigama. Baiken agreed to the "demonstration," but warned that he was unable to wield the kusarigama without using deadly force. This figure is SO F*%KING cool! I am so happy I was able to find it. Special thanks to the Cosmic-King's eBay store for making this possible.


A glimpse into the lives of the Young Yakuza

This is not the gun-blazing, finger-chopping type of Yakuza film that you might expect from film masters Beat Takeshi (北野 武) or Miike Takashi (三池 崇史). Young Yakuza is a documentary made by french director Jean-Pierre Limosin offering a rare opportunity to get a first-hand look at the personal, human side of yakuza life.

The film's stars are real-life yakuza Ishii Chiyozo, Ishii Hideyuki, yakuza apprentice Watanabe Naoki and other members of the Kumagai-gumi. While the film may consist largely of interviews and routine, day-to-day activities, Limosin allows his audience a chance to accompany the yakuza clan members, learn about their unique customs, and experience the complexities of their inter-personal relationships with each other, their families and themselves.

I have never heard about another film like this one and I am thoroughly impressed. If you would like to get some real perspective on the real lives of the yakuza, aside from just what you see in the movies and read about in books, I HIGHLY recommend this film. If you're in the Chicago area, the film is playing until 20-March at Facets - 1517 W. Fullerton. 773-281-9075


Invincible Under The Sun

What can I say about the latest addition to my collection, aside from-- is this KOOL or WHAT!? Kakkoiiiiii! Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵) is, of course, one of the greatest, strongest swordsmen of all time and I can definitely describe him as my hero (yes, I still have heroes!). Starting his life as Shinmen Takezō, he lived a life of mushashugyō (warrior's journey), continuously searching for the meaning of true strength and invincibility. Along the way he, of course, learned a hell of a lot about life, humanity and the self. He eventually became one of the most respected and famous swordsmen in the all the world. You can read all about him in the award-winning manga series, Vagabond, by Inoue Takehiko (who also did the art-work for the recent XBOX 360 title, Lost Odyssey).


Kool Kunoichi

Anyone who is into playing Ninja Gaiden, or was a fan of the game Dead or Alive, will certainly recognise our favourite kunoichi, Ayane (あやね). She has been one of my companions for the past few months while playing Ninja Gaiden Sigma on PS3 (without a doubt, one of the best games I have played, ever!)

In Sigma, Ayane works for the two-faced Shadow Clan leader, Murai (ムライ) as a spy, continuously providing assistance and guardian-angel-style aid to her sempai, Ryu Hayabusa (リュウ・ハヤブサ) (Murai's nephew). After the evil lord Doku, under Murai's guidance, attacks the Hayabusa clan's village, kills everyone in sight, and steals the Dark Dragon Blade, I... oh-- I mean Ryu sets out on a quest to kill Doku and recover the blade. Ayane is there always to pass along important information, provide moral support and sometimes to bring rations in times of need.

Now I get to have Ayane watching over me always, helping me to survive on my adventures. Above is a lovely photo of her. She arrived today by way of Kotobukiya.