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Lupin the Third: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine (2012)

We'll get this out of the way first: Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to lu Onna (A Woman Called Fujiko Mine) series features lots of Fujiko's huge, perfect, fat, uncensored tits.

Yes, really.

That said, this is an intriguing take on a beloved old franchise that's gotten increasingly stale over the years. Enter Sayo Yamamoto, a rare female director in a male-dominated field. She brings us an "adult" and Fujiko-centered retelling of the Lupin III stories. It's one that some fans may find highly female-positive despite the fleshy Fujiko fanservice on display.

The first episode, a classic caper story, dips into a seemingly bottomless animation budget to showcase Yamamoto's kinetic, almost experimental style. We're also introduced to 2012's versions of Fujiko and Lupin. Their relationship is subtly different from the one we're used to.

Previous Lupin III retellings have always portrayed Fujiko as independent and dangerous, yet often reliant on her seductive charms when she needed to best Lupin himself. This time around, Lupin is cagier and seems immune to her feminine wiles. The end result? Our modern version of Fujiko, despite her gratuitous nudity, relies solely on skill and guts instead of fluttered eyelashes in her attempts to gain the upper hand on Lupin in their eternal game of high-stakes one-upsmanship.

The Moment Is Here: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden

It's here. Stop what you're doing; it's time for the world's strongest ninja to pummel your face... and your heart.

Watch it over on Crunchyroll!

Note that the "SD" in the title isn't the customary "Super-Deformed." In this case, the creators of the anime have specified that it stands for "Super-Determined."

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

If you like films like Machine Girl or Tokyo Gore Police then Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is for you. A bit more humor in this one and some of the most racist scenes I think that's been put to film in the past 30 years. Best seen with a group of people.

View the trailer

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The Dreamcast: Ten Years Later

Ten years ago today, I took a day off of work and lined up early at the mall for my Sega Dreamcast. The next twenty-four hours were a hazy blur of Sonic Adventure, NFL2K and -- most of all -- Soul Calibur. The Dreamcast had arguably the greatest launch lineup and greatest individual launch title of any system ever. I've never wrung as much enjoyment out of another game system before or since.

A variety of factors always get the blame for the Dreamcast's demise: hype for the unreleased Playstation 2 is usually cited as the primary factor, with consumer ill will from the bad old Saturn/32X/SegaCD days usually given as a contributing factor. Yeah. For nerds.

For everybody else a third factor trumped them both: the Dreamcast had no support from Electronic Arts and therefore no Madden.

You're a gamer. You probably know that 2KSports' games for the Dreamcast were equal or superior to their counterparts from Electronic Arts, but you're not America. Aside from the casual gaming market that Nintendo basically created with the Wii, Madden sells systems. Period. Pull some random guys under the age of forty off of the street. Most of them won't even know what a 32X is, much less carry a goddamn grudge regarding it. But probably half of them have played Madden.

Sega once prospered from exactly the same factor that killed the Dreamcast. Electronic Arts' sports games were at least as instrumental as Sonic The Hedgehog when it came to the Genesis' American success. The incredible Genesis versions of NHL Hockey and Madden were groundbreaking games that made the Genesis a dorm room staple. The jet-black Genesis looked like it meant business and became something you weren't embarrassed to play into your twenties, even in a Hollywood movie. Without the Madden and NHL Hockey franchises Genesis would never have been more than a kids' toy and something for us gamer nerds.

And that's what happened to the Dreamcast. We loved it. Gamers bought it, played it, loved it, and mooned over the perfect scores in Famitsu. But ultimately, America decided it was a toy.

Review: Miyazaki's Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea)

When preparing to watch a movie by acclaimed animation director Hayao Miyazaki, more often than not, it’s easy to predict what you’re in for. There’s going to be a lot of beautiful scenery and imagery; fantastical animals and characters; and a strong environmentally friendly message. You can also be guaranteed to finish with a smile on your face. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea did not disappoint.

The feel of the movie was much more childish, centering on a 5-year old boy, Sosuke and a small fish named Ponyo, a contrast to the last couple of Miyazaki films, which had older protagonists. The theme of the movie was also much younger in style, focusing more on the friendship between Ponyo and Sosuke and less on any one antagonist or large-scale threat. This allowed for more attention to be paid to the characters and their development, as opposed to a higher message.

The characters and setting pulled their share of the weight nicely. Miyazaki’s classic design, combined with wondrous sea creatures and vast seascapes painted a gorgeous picture. More and more it’s easier to realize that Miyazaki’s films are like art books in and of themselves. The image of Sosuke’s house on the hill set against a raging storm or a clear night sky evokes memories of nameless coastal towns. You can almost smell the salty tang of a crisp ocean breeze.

According to posted figures, Ponyo has managed to post box-office numbers second only to Spirited Away as compared to Miyazaki’s other films. Well worth the watch, but you’ll have to search for it. There’s no current date set for a domestic (U.S.) release, but Disney has managed to snatch up the rights to all of Miyazaki’s Ghibli films so far, so it’s safe to assume that it’s only a matter of time before it’s released out here.

-Joshua Kaplowitz

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Fansub Review: Detroit Metal City

Do you like puppies? Do you like rainbows? Flowers? Soft kisses, gentle words and warm embraces? Prepare to have your brain raped by one Johannes Krauser II. Scared? You should be. Enter DMC. Go to DMC.

Negishi Soichi is a fresh-faced young man who loves Swedish pop music and writing songs about love and nature. He has a crush on a girl he went to college with, but he has trouble telling her that he likes her, often ending up in difficult situations which eventually sabotage his attempts at confession.

Johannes Krauser II is the lead singer of the hot new underground metal band, Detroit Metal City, DMC for short. Renowned for his innate ability to play with his teeth and the “Ten rapes per second” shout. A demon from hell, summoned by a world desperate for all things metal. The catch? Negishi and Krauser are the same person.

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Machine Girl

Although Machine Girl only has two attachments in the film, it's a really fun time.

After her brother is killed by the son of the local yakuza/ninja boss and his gang, she goes to get her revenge by killing them although her family is definitely not of the killing type, regardless of whether or not her parents committed suicide after being investigated under suspicion of murder. She goes through hell and thinks things are lost after losing one of her arms, but two people from an auto shop make her a new arm and she resumes her bloodthirsty quest.

Swords, guns, chainsaws, flying guillotines, drill bras, detached arms and more. Anything can be a weapon. For this film, I think pictures speak louder than words.

See the trailer here.

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L: Change the World

I enjoyed the Death Note manga and while I have not seen the anime, I did see the first Death Note live action film, which was decent. L is definitely an interesting and popular character, which led to him leading his own film which is kind of a prequel to Death Note. I say "kind of" because the film seems to want to overlap this story with the one in Death Note but it only serves to confuse. I do think there was an interesting film to be made and it would have been focused on how the L persona came to be and demonstrated the current L's intelligence and crime solving ability. One thing that people not familiar with Death Note wanted to know was why was he so weird.

L is contacted by W who informs him of a town wiped completely out by a man-made virus. K has turned sides and has twisted the term "make the world a better place" to mean most humans should be wiped out so nature can make a return.

While L puts a few pieces together, he mostly is there to look cool and act weird and eat sweet things. If you've been anticipating this movie, I think you'd be mostly disappointed.

Tokyo Gore Police

Caught this as the Asian Film Festival of Dallas. Very fun movie. Best with a group of friends. A lot of Robocop influence with the privatization of the police and the funny TV ads to get you into what the culture in the film's all about. Like designer wrist-cutting blades for girls.

After Ruka sees her father's head blown off by an assassin as a girl, she vows revenge against criminals and joins the police force which has recently become a privatized organization. Engineers are her specialty, called that because if they lose a body part, some weapon or other grows back in its place. As Ruka searches for the root of the engineer menace much bloodshed ensues.

There is indeed much gore here and it's all fun. There's an extended scene here.

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