A Fistful of ’80s

Or, How I Learned to Just Embrace the Corn
by Bolt Vanderhuge

In spite of being something akin to an old classic, I feel like Fist of the North Star tends to get forgotten by modern audiences, or just mocked by them if they are made aware of it.  Yet if one can overlook the poor animation quality, visual inconsistencies, and simplistic plot, it really is a strangely watchable show.

First, though, you should be aware of the fact that you have essentially two options, as I’m highlighting both a movie released in 1986 and a series which aired from 1984-1987, which were both produced by the same creative staff.  The series was pretty obviously made for a younger crowd, and is toned down accordingly, often through the use of silhouette or recoloring blood to either black or white for the gorier scenes, while the movie revels in goriness, being sure to show you as much of the insides of the victims of the various styles of martial arts (referred to as fists) used by protagonist Kenshiro and a few other characters he comes across on his journey to rescue his fiancé.  Ironically, there’s a lot more random nudity in the series than there is in the movie.

Nudity has no place in my gory movie

In any case, this is a post-apocalyptic story, set in the ruins of a nuclear holocaust that has claimed most of humanity and left the entire planet a ruin.  The movie leave the nature of this apocalypse something of a mystery, but the series explicitly spells it out and even shows it a few times in flashback.  While most of what remains of humanity has fallen into anarchy and lives off what they can salvage from the remains of civilization (and is very much inspired by Mad Max), there are still martial art masters keeping their traditions alive.  Most of them, such as the titular “Fist of the North Star,” are seen as so powerful that there can be only one legitimate practitioner of them at a time.  Kenshiro is but one of three adopted sons of the master of the Fist of the North Star, and undergoes trials with them so the master can decide which to choose as heir to his Fist.  He ends up going with Kenshiro, and this ends up making the others rather upset.  One of them just takes what he has learned so far and kills the master before leaving on a quest to take over the world so he can bring order to the chaos.  As it happens, Kenshiro was set to marry a woman named Yuria, and is best friends with the man who has learned the Fist of the Southern Cross, Shin, at this time, and his other jealous brother decides to screw him over by convincing Shin that Yuria would be better off with him.  So the first part of both the movie and the series consists of Shin betraying Kenshiro and almost killing him in order to get him to give Yuria up, giving him the signature Big Dipper scar on his chest in the process, with Kenshiro seeking to rescue Yuria and take revenge on Shin after he has recovered.  This then ultimately culminates in a conflict with his oldest adoptive brother, Ken-Oh/Roah, and him never quite getting Yuria back.

No matter which version of this story you decide to watch, you are going to be bombarded by cheesy ’80s action goodness combined with all the anime clichés you can think of.  The series does tell a much more coherent story than the movie, and actually adds more than one dimension to the main antagonists, but it does really draw the story out and take its time to get to the point, but it makes up for this by being strangely watchable, with just enough interesting points to keep one watching.  The movie is basically just a massive dose of the good ol’ ultra-violent – the product of a style that has become a thing of the past, much to my disappointment.  The downside to both versions is that it involves a couple of kids joining up with Kenshiro, essentially to become audience proxies so that things can be explained to them.  But as with most child characters, they tend to be rather annoying and get used to generate melodrama thanks to their stupidity.  One of them, Lynn, is like a moéblob even though that trope had yet to be a thing, and is so clingy she would give Overly Attached Girlfriend a run for her money.

Strictly speaking, I would not call this a “good” show per se, as Kenshiro really epitomizes the Gary Stu trope, and the story is quite simplistic, but it is still a lot of fun to watch Kenshiro’s arms blur as he pushes his enemies’ secret pressure points to make them all explode, and even does crazy things like beat up a WWII Panzer tank, so I’d still recommend it to fans of the ’80s action genre.

Fuck Yeah! Look It Up:
Fist of the North Star [Hokuto no Ken] 109 episode anime (1984), and film (1987)
Based on the manga by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara
Produced by Toei, Licenced by Discotek

This Is Fine


I paused my doomscroll for Japan Sinks 2020
by Bob Johnson

As Howard Mohr taught us, it could always be worse more often than it could be better.  I know we’re running out of fingers and covid toes to count how 2020 has taken the reality of our global civilization and placed it into a blender that is decidedly not filled with ice cubes and strawberries… Wouldn’t it be cathartic if we could go back to disasters that affected just one country?

Well, slamming like an oversized asteroid onto Netflix this past July 9 was “Japan Sinks 2020”, a little ditty about 100 million people being flipped casually into the dead slate Pacific.  We follow the story of the Mutoh family as they attempt to do the best they can, each starting from a familiar place in the routine of modern life – an aircraft on final approach, a construction scaffold, a locker room, a schoolyard.  Then the earthquake drops, and we go instantly from slice-of-life to slice-of-death.  Moving forward from here will take luck and grit.

The show is cut and paced for Netflix.  That means some liberties taken with episode runtimes – most of the 10 eps running longer than 22 minutes – and cliffhangers at virtually all the episode ends, some bending the plot more than others.  Fortunately, the subject matter itself provides decent cover for these relatively minor issues.  Survival is not a perfect science, after all.  Given infinite time and resources, we’d all make better calls.  But even the smartest, most experienced people make mistakes when they’re in a rush and underequipped.

Some disaster epics try to shoehorn in some romance; best hold your breath on that.  A touch of “senpai notice me” is there, if only to demonstrate its fragility and futility in the worst of times.  But disaster can also encourage an unhealthy, devil-may-care, time-pressured attitude toward relationships, adding further trauma for the show to explore.

While it breaks the mould in many respects, it still has fun expressing its creativity, and isn’t shy about taking a brief tangent for a bit of comic relief.  The show achieves its ‘peak anime’ moment during one of these denouements: a rap battle for the honour of Japan at a hot spring that is also a beach.

Spoiler Alert: Yes, there is a Hot Springs Episode.

Artwise?  Colour is used effectively to set the mood; vibrant and bright in hopeful times, subdued and dark when there’s danger or pessimism.  The drawing style can get a rough-in at times, but it’s never jarring given the sketchy nature of the situations our heroes find themselves in.

The varied locales are notable given the road trip nature of the show.  There’s familiar sights to anime fans, like Mount Fuji, or shrines for Shinto or Buddhism, but the show goes to lengths to get it right for everything from seaport docks, to lonely mountainside gas stations, to the utopian commune of Shan City.

The voice acting is sufficient, though you’ll perhaps notice more Canadian accent here than Kansai accent.  While Netflix may lack the bench needed to copy the idiosyncratic localization tactics of anime’s familiar Texas-based dubhouses, they make up for it in volume, expanding the limits of what’s possible for dubs and subs beyond English, but also Spanish, French, and others, as well as the holy grail for the true weeaboo: subtitles *IN JAPANESE*.

Refined otaku can study the full and original text.

Japan Sinks 2020 is a fine addition to the Japanese tradition of tokusatsu disaster film, using the imagined disaster to pierce the solicitous, anachronistic exceptionalism of the hermit kingdom and challenge it to actually internalize the racial and international harmony that Japan always says it wants to see in the world at large.  When even terra firma is impermanent, what remains to cling to, except for each other?

The show also says, with more than a wink to Justy Ueki Tylor, that Luck is the most important factor in surviving a disaster so large it destroys everything about you and your way of life.

If your stomach turns at the thought of being saved by the YouTube Generation with their selfies and drones and paragliding and pet robots, then you might not see the finale as particularly happy or heroic.  Still, we are left convinced that Japan, in whatever form it has taken after this terrible crisis, is still a notable cultural force.  Even diminished, it can still be remembered in its former glory, and aspire to hang in there in the new age.

Between this and Keep your hands off Eizouken!, 2020 is officially the year of Science Saru.  I can’t say that it is the most uplifting content for these challenging times.  But it does manage to stick the landing.

Maybe Look It Up:
Japan Sinks 2020 (2020) 10 episode Original Net Animation
Based on the novel Japan Sinks by Sakyo Komatsu
Produced by Science Saru, Licenced by Netflix

The Man We Don’t Deserve (Or Need)

When the world needed a savior, Kanta Mizuno appeared – and it was pretty much downhill from there.
by Gristle McThornbody

The face of a man looking at 5 lbs of meat in a 2lb bag

Desert Punk is a 24 episode romp from our old friends at Gonzo that spins the tale of *the bestest ever* Handyman Guild mercenary and his misadventures in the Great Kanto Desert. Surrounded by much more competent (or at least level-headed) contemporaries -and an apprentice- scrounging for table scraps in post-apocalyptic Japan, what once was a flight of fancy almost seems an attainable and realistic “new normal” when viewed from the 2020 landscape. Some shows are plot driven, some are “plot” “driven” (boobs), and some, like this one, are character driven (also boobs). While sitting as another post-world-ending anime, and borrowing quite a few well-known tropes of both that genre and good Japanese humor, the thing that sets DP apart is the bang-up jobs the Americans did with the localization.

The dub is what essentially made anime more appealing to me back in 2009, having come from a good diet of Cowboy Bebop on CN, and seeing Azumanga Daioh at the Clark County anime club. It was proof that anime could do more than be cool like Bebop or ordinary like Azu. Madcap adventures and well-done ribald humor planted firmly into satire with a decent plot (up to a point) endeared Desert Punk to me, and made me want to jump into the genre even more.  

Such a well-developed plot

Adapted from the still-ongoing manga by Usune Masatoshi, the anime plows through its 24 episodes fully tongue-in-cheek, and it’s obvious they had tons of fun adapting the madcap adventures to an English language audience. If you want a sampler without spoiling the Gonzo ending, take these Punkisms for a ride. I’d venture a guess that either the ADR folks were given full-reign, and very much knew their source material very well, because whoo-boy, have I seen tons of anime set in this type of world where the VO falls flat on its face. So, I’m grateful that they had a deft, 4th-wall-breaking dub to take us through to the end times of this anime.

It’s all fun and games until you realize…

While it’s been 11 years since I first saw it, removing the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia reveals that this is a still-fun watch. There are plenty of wacky, wild situations for the titular character goes head first into, and it gets into an episodic, nearly predictable formula. Namely, DP does a thing, either fails or succeeds and almost gets the boobies. Situations range from stealing what turned out to be a truck full of poop, to trapping the boob-tastic Junko so that she ends up high heels and a bathing suit, to a nice dueling episode with Rain Spider. Along the way, DP picks up an assistant/apprentice/annoying moéblob (that’s actually useful one or twice), and with the strong bunch of folks, it rather works out well, surprisingly. So, that’s the first 75%. The plot gets flipped at the end, but this is a Gonzo title, after all. Plan accordingly. But I’m not giving away that end, though lol! So, since you’re the type of audience that likes Max Weeb, you’ll probably like Desert Punk, too.

There are many swords to fall on. Why DP’s?

Fuck Yeah! Look It Up:
Desert Punk (2004) 24 episode anime
Based on the manga by Masatoshi Usune
Produced by Gonzo, Licenced by Funimation

The Passion of the Animator

Eizouken takes us on a journey of inspiration…and cash
by Punch Rockgroin

Back in 2014, Shiro Bako gave us a taste of what it takes to produce an anime in the modern day. These were the more technical aspects, such as the steps in animation, getting the voice work recorded and the humps encountered along the way. It showed a bit of the inspiration of what drove the animators into their profession, but these inspirations tended to come from series in their childhood more than anything else. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! shows a bit of that, but also shows the creativity that can be derived from the everyday, and what drives them to complete their vision.

The series follows a trio high schoolers (duh) looking to get into animating. Well, two of them are there to animate, while the third sees an opportunity to make some money. Midori Asakusa is seemingly the head, who directs the animation and comes up with the ideas. Her friend (referred to as “comrade”) Sayaka Kanamori isn’t much for watching anime, but can’t resist a great plan for making money, and is generally tasked with maintaining both cash flow and keeping the animators on schedule. Completing the trio is Tsubame Misuzaki, a famous amateur model who is fascinated with movement and would rather be an animator than an actor like her parents.

Tsubame is forbidden by her parents from joining the school’s anime club, so after running into Asakusa and Kanamori and finding their shared interests, they instead form the Eizouken (film club) to get around this quandary. From there, the only way is up, with the occasional meddling from the student council, and Kanamori making sure the animators are staying on task.

Throughout the show, we are treated to Asakusa’s thought process on creating a world and a story, while relying on the real world for ideas. There are times when I have to wonder if today’s animators are more inspired by the anime they watched growing up than the world around them, but this gives me some hope that there are those out there that utilize everyday life to create something other-worldly. Even Misuzaki, who is enthralled with motion, especially drives this point home: She watches people and their movements, and will take even mundane things like tea thrown from a cup to make more believable motion. Some of the backgrounds have a nice “lived-in” feel, looking appropriately dirty in their detail. On top of all this is Kanamori, butting heads with school faculty and other clubs just to get more money.

Eizouken is a fun watch from start to finish. The process of inspiration, to hard work, obstacles and finally fruition for all of their projects is a treat, to both the eyes and the heart. It is not a thought-provoking series, but could at least serve as a way to inspire and guide those who also seek to bring their ideas into reality. All it takes is dedication to your vision…and someone who will keep the money flowing.

FUCK YEAH, Look It Up!
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
Based on the manga by Sumito Owara
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa
Animated by Science Saru
Licensed by Crunchyroll

Making a Spectacle of Itself

Subverting Expectations Before It Was Cool
by Bolt Vanderhuge

Red Spectacles (1987), along with its sequel/prequel, is not well known even among anime fans, even those who are aware of the last of the “Kerboros Saga” films, Jin-Roh.  Its director, Mamoru Oshii, is generally better known for his animated works, especially the 1995 adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, the production of which is actually the reason he didn’t end up directing Jin-Roh.  More recently, however, people have been rediscovering what was Oshii’s first non-animated film, perhaps thanks to reviewers like yours truly retroactively throwing a spotlight on it.  The problem is, a lot of people go into this film expecting it to be like Jin-Roh, and all the marketing for this movie really doesn’t help much in that regard.

The infamous armor is barely even in it

Even the Wikipedia article would doesn’t reveal the fact that this film is as far from Jin-Roh as one can get while still being in the same alternate-history universe.  I will try my best to explain, but one cannot truly have this film explained to them; it must be experienced.

The first step to understanding this film, is realizing that it’s not straightforward, at all.  There are layers to it, and it’s difficult to realize it the first time you watch it, other than the obvious contrast of the segments that are in color with those that are in black and white.  And the majority of the film is in black and white.  The basic plot of film is that the “Special Unit,” created to combat a rising crime rate in an alternate-history Tokyo that had been occupied by Germans rather than by Americans, gained enemies among the Metropolitan Police and was overthrown when a new regime came to power.  The “Kerberos Riot” resulted when the Special Unit refused to stand down, but after a siege it surrendered.  However, senior detective Kōichi Todome, managed to escape Japan, and returns to Tokyo after three years in hiding, only to almost immediately draw attention from the government.  However, it doesn’t take long for things to get stranger and stranger, and it becomes impossible to take seriously, as absurdist humor takes over the film.

Within the first few minutes, actually

It is better to think of this film as more of an exploration of concepts than as a narrative that is meant to be followed and understood by the audience.  If anything, I’d say the entire point of the film is for the audience to figure it out for themselves.  It’s difficult to determine what even actually happened in the “real world” as portions of the film are undeniably only taking place in Kōichi’s mind.  It’s been suggested that the color portions of the film are the only “real” parts, but there are at least two different versions of Kōichi’s escape in color, so which is real?  And who is the mysterious woman who keeps appearing throughout the film?  Everything is pretty much left up to you to decide for yourself, along with whatever it was that Oshii was trying to tell you with this film.

All that can be said for certain is that this film is well worth watching and experiencing for yourself, and that no brothers or friends exist in a small restroom.

Fuck Yeah! Look it up!
The Red Spectacles (1987)
Directed by Mamoru Oshii
Distributed by Omnibus Promotion

A Full Course of Fun

Like someone made a Rosario + Vampire Hentai
by Bolt Vanderhuge

Itadaki! Seieki is probably one of the more vanilla hentais you might watch, as the only “strange” thing about it is that it involves a half-vampire/half-succubus who can change her body and personality based on the desires of her chosen meal. “Meal” is actually the entire premise of this short OVA, as Setogaya Mari lures high school student Kanzaki to the PE storage shed after school in a very stereotypical set-up that the OVA actually lampshades, only to kick him in the head so she can bite him and feed on his blood. He takes it pretty well. She introduces herself as a vampire, and has the bat wings to prove it, but as it turns out, she can’t actually handle blood. Apparently she had been living off of sweat and saliva – secretions which are a form of life energy. Kanzaki has a certain alternative he suggests to her instead. Alas, she doesn’t actually swallow much thick Bavarian cream through her mouth, if you’re into that kind of thing, as she seems to just absorb it.

It’s just so gosh darn cute!

As you might guess, this turns into a regular thing, and Setogaya isn’t exactly subtle when she comes to get her lunch either. It’s a pretty thin premise, which is probably why it’s less than a half-hour long when you watch both parts of this OVA together. So it’s pretty tame in spite of getting a bit rapey at one point, and might not appeal to you if you’re used to something more adventurous than high school students sneaking off to fuck and a woman who can make her boobs bigger or make herself just the way Aku likes ‘em at will.

If you just can’t be bothered to read subtitles, like I used to be before I became a MaximumWeeaboo, this has been localized as Vampire Vixen. Probably a bit catchier than “Gimmie That Semen.” The dub is… okay. It’s better at some points than others. At least they tried. The main appeal here is that the localizers got a hold of an uncensored version, to further enhance your hentai viewing pleasure.

So should you watch this OVA? Fuck, why not? It’s like a half-hour long, bro.

Fuck Yeah check it out!

Itadaki! Seieki / Vampire Vixen
Based on the manga by doumou
Produced by Pashmina, Licenced by Kitty Media

Smile down the Runway

I like where this thread is going

by Bob Johnson

Crawling through this season’s anime chart is no easier of a slog this time than any other. Just searching through the A titles yields two notable loads of bishi-bait – A3! (Dull!) and ARP Backstage Pass (drama buoyed by peppy J-Pop while also boat-anchored to CGI dance numbers, and dripping with BL subtext).

On the flip side – things that are actually good – in yet another triumph of meta-anime, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! has steadily become the talk of the town. I don’t disagree with that, it plainly belongs up there on Mount Weebmore with your Shiro Bakos and such. Just don’t miss the forest for the tallest tree, either. There’s at least one other show this season worth watching.

Smile down the Runway is a classic tale of two misfits who are propelled by a mutual love of fashion. One suffers from the weight of disappointment, never growing to the height needed to model clothes in the usual way. The other toils in obscurity, patching together viral clothing designs from odds and ends laying around, but is held back by economics and inexperience. With an odd wisdom before their years, both realize that with their handicaps, they might only have one shot to break into the big time. So they give it their all.

But can you fix being short on short notice?

The simple mechanic where our leads take on the specific challenge before them has produced a show that is both joyful and practical. This is what you need to do, what kind of job you need, what you need to do to get through the day. And when someone tells you that you can’t do something, you do it anyway! In this way, it’s entirely different in tone from other fashion anime – Princess Jellyfish (zany antics punctuated by desperation plays that in true comedic fashion, always lead to the protagonists failing upward) and Paradise Kiss (a melodramatic slide from innocence into a struggle in a grey and jaded world).

Now granted, most Americans caught their fill of this sort of thing sometime early in the previous decade. But if you haven’t already been over-Tyra Banks-ed, you might weave this show into into your tapestry.

Maybe check it out:
Smile down the Runway (Runway de Warette)
Based on the manga by Kotoba Inoya
Produced by Ezóla, Licenced by Funimation

Glorious Zipang

All the excitement of a documentary
by Bolt Vanderhuge

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this anime. On the one hand it’s an interesting take on the premise of the movie Final Countdown which features a modern Japanese Aegis destroyer named Mirai being transported to WWII rather than an American aircraft carrier, but on the other it tends to really slow its own plot and action down for the sake of philosophic discussion or just for the sake of military fanservice. This isn’t to bash on this series exactly, because I can totally go for slow, philosophical plots, or discussing the features and capabilities of both modern and WWII era ships and aircraft, but this can get kind of frustrating when it has the effect of slamming the brakes on everything else that’s trying to happen in the story.

Some of this comes from agonizing over whether it’s ethical to even defend themselves or to rescue anyone from this time period they see in distress as it might alter that timeline. This could be a cultural difference, as I doubt an American ship in their place would hesitate as much, and would probably be more concerned over how irreplaceable any resources might be. There’s also the awkwardness that comes from finding yourself in a shooting war with people you’ve grown up all your life thinking of as allies (their ship is even based on an American design). But most of the focus seemed to be on how any actions they take could alter time with the crew deciding they wanted to avoid this, that is when it isn’t taking time to nerd out over the various ships, submarines, aircraft, and weapons in the show.

There isn’t anything Freudian about this scene at all

Enter LCdr Kusaka, an Imperial Japanese Navy officer whom the Mirai‘s first officer, LCdr Kadomatsu, decides he just can’t watch drown as they come across his crashed airplane. They then double down on this by letting someone who was supposed to have died have access to the ship’s library, so he can read all about how the war and its aftermath are supposed to go down. This does result in interesting maneuvering by Kusaka, as he leads Kadomatsu on a cat and mouse chase as it’s not entirely clear what his endgame is beyond expressing a desire to end the war in a more favorable way for Japan, and in doing so creating a new Japan. This also leads to some interesting questions as to what has happened to the very aptly-named Mirai as events happen which make it clear what the crew knows as history has been altered, without causing any changes in them as per Back to the Future rules. Paradox? Alternate timeline? Who knows? After all, the anime never got a second season and it ended on a cliffhanger without ever answering any of the questions it brought up.

It is still a fairly interesting plot to follow, though, especially as the ship struggles to stay out of history’s way while ending up being repeatedly forced to act to defend itself, as well as making what allies it can to ensure the crew might actually have a chance of living through whatever is going on. Naturally both Japan and the US are interested in the ship and its technology and want to either get their hands on it, or destroy it so as to deny it to anyone else.

Ultimately, the most frustrating aspect of this show is its abrupt end and lack of any resolution. The anime came out in 2004, so it’s unlikely it will get any follow-up because you degenerates are way more interested in watching cute girls doing cute things than alternate history political thrillers. If you were hoping to get some resolution by reading the manga, you’re kind of out of luck unless you can read Japanese, Korean, or French, as only a quarter of its forty-three volume run has been translated into English, and only four were ever published in North America. But if you like drooling over military hardware and/or fantasizing about how a modern warship would fare in WWII, this anime might still be worth a watch.

Maybe Check it Out:
Zipang (2004) 26 episode anime
based on the manga by Kaiji Kawaguchi
Produced by Studio Deen, licenced by Geneon

Library War

Your Books or Your Life
by Bob Johnson

Maybe.

Fahrenheit 451 gets the anime treatment in the biggest brouhaha over print media since Read or Die. In an alternate year 2019, book learners and book burners have fought it out for over 30 years – while the general public is terrorized by the Media Betterment Committee, libraries retain academic freedom, guaranteed by the law and the Library Defence Force.

We see these struggles through the eyes of Kasahara Iku, a plucky 22-year-old trackstar who has become the first woman inducted into the Task Force, the elite security force of the LDF. Though gifted with physical ability, statuesque height, and stubborn determination, Kasahara struggles with the mundane business of sorting and finding books, which is still the main job the LDF does between battles.

Kasahara Iku, our hero! Plucky, light of foot, a bit more heart than brains.

In this, she’s assisted by her competent classmates Tezuka and Shibahara, while her instructor Dojo attempts to drill more discipline into the impulsive young cadet. Meanwhile, she wants to find the LDF officer who inspired her to join the force, and protect books just like him. From time to time she also deals with drop-ins from her tiger dad and worried mom, ever-fearful their daughter may be the next victim of a censorship raid.

Though it can be excessively moé at times (Kasahara is a Greek god in hand-to-hand combat, but a startled klutz with a book cart?), Library War is a solid show, well-drawn and animated. As a battle anime, the LDF are careful students of tactics and strategy, with a focus on preparation: planning, training, learning regulations. When you fail in battle, it’s because you didn’t do your homework. None of your Code Geass make-it-up as you go along here. Then again, the villains aren’t too fleshed out – the LDF is always the good guys, always quoting law and regulation, and never firing first. The MBC, on the other hand, are cartoon mooks whose main goal in life is to take books out of the hands of little kids, or just generally smash and grab dead trees.

Your tax dollars hard at work.

In romance, Iku is a true half-and-half tsundere, and faces two leading options. Tezuka is a pretty dry candidate, simply ticking the boxes needed for ‘responsible boyfriend’, while Dojo is pretty clearly best guy, but also is kind of her boss, and ‘too short’. And oddly enough, there’s not much in this show for bibliophiles, beyond the fact that they work with books: none of the leads is constantly nose-in on a tome or constantly quoting literature.

Library War is perhaps not significant enough to merit a solo watch, but its pacing of stretches of interpersonal drama, punctuated by pitched battles or hilarious reaction shots, keeps it engaging as a group or club title. It certainly won’t offend sub purists.

Maybe Look It Up:
Library War (2008) 12 episode anime
based on the light novels by Hiro Arikawa and Sukumo Adabana
Produced by Production I.G., Licenced by Discotek

Driver vs. Machine

A vision of Musk-sama’s desired future

by Punch Rockgroin

In the year 20X6, the vast majority of citizens will no longer drive. Instead, they will be able to rent an AI-driven car of their choice, depending on their needs. This system will greatly reduce the number of driving-related deaths, and also allow a more rapid response to road-related emergencies. These new cars will also be driven by electric motors, thus also being much cleaner for the environment.

But any system is prone to issues and random errors, and the world of éX-Driver is no different. When one of these self-driven cars goes rogue, a small but elite group of human drivers and their internal combustion-powered vehicles to chase and safely stop these runaway cars from going further.

Self-driving cars have been discussed for many years, and occasionally make an appearance in anime and other media. In éX-Driver, the concept is discussed a bit further to address the what-if and potentially hazardous situations a fully autonomous vehicle would cause if it ran amok.


Lorna prepares to use a Single Shot Sticky Stuff Shooter
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