AgentJ (Level 13)

Batman is Anime, and Zelda's an RPG. These are a few of the most dumbest (sic) things.
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It's the morning of PAX '11, the sun is peaking over  the trees, and everything feels right with the world. I'm about to embark on my fifth-annual trip to the bestest gamers show in the United States, and possibly the Universe.  
From my limited PAX experience, the show seems to follow a pattern of lulls and highs, and this year is most certainly a high. I'm struggling to keep track of all the amazing gam ared to knock Duke off of his broad, muscular shoulders? Blasphemy! 
 
THE GAMES: 
Assassin's Creed: Revelations 
Batman: Arkham City 
Mass Effect 3 
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim 
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier 
Rage  
Halo 4/Anniversary
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 
Counter Strike: GO  
Dead Island
 
In this pre-dawn daze, i'm not thinking of all that's coming out, so if I'm forgetting something major, TELL ME. I'll do my best to get to it. 
es that will be on the show floor today, but I'll try to list as many as I can below anyway.  
 Each day I'll be posting a new blog detailing what I played that day, what impressed me, disappointed me, or surprised me. The lines will be longer than ever, so I'll be sort-of be crossing my fingers, hoping to get to everything. If there's another "Duke Nukem Forever" my whole schedule could be thrown off, but could there possibly be something prep
ALL HAIL BALL!
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Well, it seems my unhealthy obsession with lists has gotten the better of me. Armed with a natural ability to rank entities in a subjective numerical order and a desire to bring more content to the wonderful members of the Animevice community, I have decided to waste my time one night a week to develop the "List of the Week". 

Far from being as grandiose as it sounds, this is just a way for me to blow off my ranking steam, and for all of you to tell me how wrong I am. 

So each week, I'm going to pick a topic, either out of the blue, or suggested by one of you poor saps that gives two shits about what I spend my time getting anal over. I'll make a list of varying length, almost always ranked in order, and give a little blurb about each entry. 

But you know what? I haven't seen every anime, read every manga, appreciated every character, or experienced every plot twist. I AM ENCOURAGING readers TO GIVE ME THE WHAT FOR! Tell me which ones I missed, which ones don't belong, and DEFINITELY tell me about the hidden gems. Just give me a little blurb in the same vein as mine to justify your pick or change. If enough people rip the list apart, I'll demonstrate a revised list the following week. 

I thought I'd start out with a really simple one; the best Miyazaki movies. 
I was inspired to start with this list by Dream's blog ranking each of Studio Ghibli's movies, so you should all read it and comment on it. 

By the way, if any moderators or Whiskey Technicians are reading this, please please PLEASE give us the abliity to rank our Whiskey lists from LAST to FIRST! Starting with the first is so anticlimactic. 

LOTW: Top 5 Miyazaki Films

Hayao Miyazaki is well known as the best animation director of his age. His works have become classics around the globe, and earned him countless filmmaking honors, including an Academy Award. Miyazaki has become synonymous with Anime, the same way Disney did for western animation. He continues to release instant classics despite continually threatening retirement. 


These are the best Miyazaki films. 
1. Kiki's Delivery Service

A classic coming of age tale, focusing on the titular young witch and her sarcastic scaredy cat Jiji. In the film, "Kiki" runs an emotional gauntlet, portraying perhaps the most "real" character of any of Miyazaki's creations over the years. Kiki's Delivery Service is far and away my personal favorite Ghibli movie and in my top five list of movies all-time.

2. Castle in the Sky

Could one call "Castle in the Sky" the quintessential Japanese fantasy movie? As the first of Studio Ghibli's projects, this film instantly created a new standard by which all others would be judged. A girl that needs rescuing, an evil organization to best, and ancient ruins to explore; all the trappings of a true classic. To tell the truth, it has been years since I've seen "Castle", but the iconic sky island, and its android, stand out so strongly, so vividly, even through the better part of a decade.

3. Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke was the first anime to get a wide-spread theatrical release in America, and is credited with being a big part of the subsequent anime boom in the west. The audience follows honest-to-a-fault Ashitaka after he is cursed and banished from his village. Eager to find the source, Ashitaka sets out on what can only be called an epic journey to find the curse's source. While it isn't the first Miyazaki movie to use environmental themes (nor was it the last) his feelings on pollution and the movings of men come through strongest in "Mononoke". It was also in many ways a departure from Miyazaki's norms, with more gritty realism and grand battles than any of his previous flicks.

4. Spirited Away

Is it possible that the first and only Anime to win an Academy Award could be left off of such a list? No, it isn't. Spirited Away hit the states in what was arguably the strongest time for anime in the states. The story about a young girl forced to work in a fantastic bathhouse after being separated from her parents is strong in japanese lore, and is perhaps overshadowed only by the superb visuals. Miyazaki returns to his character-developing days of "Kiki", as the lead Chihiro is the most fleshed-out girl since the "Delivery Service" days.

5. Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind

Direceted before Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli, Nausicaa is based on Miyazaki's own self-created manga series, which began in 1982, two years before the movie, and ended in 1994. Nausicaa laid the groundwork for many ideas that would later become Miyazaki staples, including the strong female lead, environmental messages, and the evils of war.


Don't forget to tell me how wrong I am! What am I missing? Which of these isn't as good as I remember? 
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Don't cry old buddy, you promised yourself you wouldn't cry... 
 
BBWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH 
 
She was so cute in this episode... 
She was so cute in this episode... 
I can honestly say I didn't see that coming. I didn't think we'd find the identity of Otonashi's transplant beneficiary, much less that it'd be someone we meet. It almost brings more questions, like "what was Kanade's life like", "how did she die" and who is going to help out new members of the school of the afterlife? And of course the big one; what happens to the two now, as they seem to meet again? Do they recognize each other, or is it just fate? And the worst part is, there's pretty much no chance for a sequel. KANADEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! 
 
The graduation ceremony was kind of tedious though, and under-represented; Couldn't we have had more members of the SSS there? What were their dreams and aspirations? Why was Shiina a ninja for heavens' sake? What is TK like as a child? (AWESOME, I'm sure). DAMN IT ANGEL BEATS! YOU'RE THE BIGGEST TROLL EVER! 
 
As with High School, I'll post some overall thoughts on a separate blog post later tonight, but right now I need to make some preparations for my 21st birthday tomorrow. If I die between now and then, at least I'll have regret and go on to that crazy afterlife, where I'll know exactly what to do.       
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A zombie story can't end without everyone dying. Thus, the series isn't over!
A zombie story can't end without everyone dying. Thus, the series isn't over!
And just like that, HOTD has reached its (hopefully temporary) zenith. With a huge cliffhanger at the end, I can't imagine that this is truly the end, though with things as they are in Japan right now, it may be a while before we get more zombie-killing action. 
 
There really isn't a lot to talk about here. The kids have set off alone yet again, with the hope of reuniting with more family members. An EMP was launched, though I don't really understand what the thinking behind it was. The zombies aren't using cell phones and pocket bombs, and if it was some sort of retaliatory attack, it wasn't well thought out.  We had some touching moments between Takagi and her parents, as they finally made clear how proud of her they are, and put her in the care of Hirano. Soichiro gives some man-to-man advice to Takashi, to stick to his guns and be decisive. 
  
I loved the touch in the final scene, as it zooms out to show the gang walking by a board filled with their own photos (an extension of the ending credits). But who was that guy that walked in front of it first, with the long-ish hair and glasses? And HOW CAN THOSE PICTURES BE UP THERE ON THAT BOARD?!?! PLOT HOLE LOLZ! But I digress. 

I'll post a series-wrap up blog in the coming days, along with a poll on what I should do next, if anything at all. But this is one that I'm glad I picked.
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Without GDM, looks like we'll have to settle for a bunch of raves.  
Without GDM, looks like we'll have to settle for a bunch of raves.  
So Yuri actually gets to be our main character for a while, and she actually seems to be competent to the task. Last episode I was going all black-guy-at-the-movies-stereotype and yelling "DON'T GO IN THERE ALONE!" Of course she does, and of course it backfires. I was disappointed to see that in the end, it wasn't a foreshadowed enemy, but just someone new and random. Knowing the crazy Otaku that anime get, I wonder if anyone has found the culprit NPC hidden in one of the previous episodes, perhaps with a heart tattooed on his neck or something. Or maybe we will meet him in the next episode. 
 
The few goodbyes we were granted in this episode were not as poignant as suggested by the closing moments of the previous episode. The girls of our favorite band, along with the leader of the guild, got in some parting words before simply vanishing into thin air, not really being "fulfilled" at all. I suppose all the worthwhile sayonaras will be exchanged in that final episode.  We got perhaps the best action scenes yet thanks especially to Kanade, who used her wings and out-of-place hand sonics to completely demolish all enemies standing in her way. 
  
I don't really have much more to say on this episode that really shouldn't be held on to until the finale, so thats that for now. I'll probably have episode 13 up later today, so i'll see yall again then.
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