Grim’s Guide to Awesome Mech Shows

June 15, 2011 at 1:46 am (Anime) (, , , , , , )

As any person who’s into anything, I’ve got my preferences. Quite a lot of people probably won’t agree with them. Essentially, I’ll be ranking the shows in order of awesomeness and double it as a sort of watch order.

And screw that angsty shit.

1. Shin Getter Robo

Shin Getter is that one in a thousand that combines batshit insanity with crazy awesome, while throwing in a huge helping of mind-fuck. In other words, it’s perfect.  The main-character is a hotblooded badass who’ll take on an entire army of demons with his bare hands (and a cloak full of axes). The second pilot is a homicidal genius. The third guy, meh, he’s al-right and the laid back contrast to the other two. Which doesn’t stop him from kicking ass when he has to. And the Shin Getter Robo itself is completely monsterous. To accompany this is a plot that makes absolutely no sense. It is, in fact, somewhat similar to the horrible piece of shit called Psychic Wars. Except, you know, Shin Getter actually makes it work. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that this show is significantly darker and more mature than most other shows on this list.

2. GaoGaiGar

This is one of the epitomes of hot blooded super robots and combing mecha.  It starts out a bit slow, then gathers speed until it reaches relativistic velocities. Let’s see, combining mechs: Check. Ninja Robots: Check: Massive Elemental Attacks: Check. Lots of unecessary (yet necessary) shouting: Check. Gratuitous Attack Calling: Oh hells yeah! To be honest, I didn’t find the human main characters all that interesting, but everyone in GGG command and the robots absolutely makes the show. And all the awesome robot fighting’s actually got a decent plot together with good pacing.

3. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

OMFG TTGL IS THIRD!!!1111!!!!?

Yes, it is. I prefer the other two. TTGL has some absolutely amazing characters. It also has a rather large secondary cast that kinda never engaged that much with me.  However, out of the three top shows it probably has the best outright mech battles. And especially the post-timeskip arc is made of rampant amounts of awesome. Once he gets going, Simon is definitely one of the absolutely best protagonists around, and I find him far superior to Gai in GGG. Though he can’t beat Ryuma from SGB. Ryouma crushes dinosaur skulls with his bare hands. (That’s in the Go manga. Nothing wrong with your memory.)

4. Rideback

But is this hot-blooded? I’m not sure. Does it compensate with fre-running motorbike mechs? Yes. And you know what, I can live with that. The show mixes up mechs, racing and some rather heavy politics with good characters. And though it’s not as over-the-top as the above three, it’s full of determination and the desire to go through with whatever.

5. Code Geass

And speaking of politics. Lelouch might be kind of a douche, but my god, the mech fights in this show are gorgeous. Totally worth watching just for them. But you’re not watching just for that, are? Because the plot in this show, especially in the first season, is brilliant. (I’m not that big a fan of the second season.) And the characters span the scale from awesome to kinda meh. And there’s decent fan-service, never something to scoff at.

6. Armoured Trooper Votoms

I love the Votoms-verse. It’s probably the most realistic of the real mech shows. Somehow, it just kept me watching through all the episodes. Yeah, the main character is the ultimate stoic ass and yeah, the secondary characters are fuckings annoying, yet somehow, it keeps the attention. Probably because the fights are good and the plot is quite interesting. And because sometimes, it’s refreshing to have an anti-hero for the main character, one you’re not always sure will do the ‘right’ thing.

Oh, and in the same ‘verse you’ll find Armour Hunter Mellowlink. Watch it. Seriously, Mellowlink is good!


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The Skullman

November 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm (Anime, Reviews)

The Skullman is a supernatural murder mystery that also fits naturally into the category known as mindscrews. (That is, shows that starts relatively slow and then kicks it into overdrive in the last few episodes so it’s hard to know what’s going on.)

The story follows reporter Mikogami Hayato and photographer trainee Mamiya Kiriko as they go to Hayato’s old hometown Ootomo to unravel the urban legend of the man known only as the Skullman, a supposed murderer. Around them, the various agencies in the city are engaged in a power struggle, directly influenced by the appearance of the Skullman as well as other supernatural happenings in the city, happenings the two main characters rapidly encounter. Working alongside the main characters is a mysterious private investigator, who tends to show up to pull them out of sticky situations or to deliver vague clues about the massive knot of conspiracies in the city, most of which seems to centre around the mysterious Byakurekai church.

The show mostly takes place in a dark, slightly omnious atmosphere, but it’s never afraid to break this to provide a bit of levity and manages to do so without ever breaking the immersive atmosphere. The animation itself is smooth, and even the fights are done without much in the way of stills. Character design is realistic and even the monsters, yes there are monsters, are well done, though slightly bizzare. But given the high quality of the anime, I think it’s safe to assume the monster designs are entirely on purpose.

As mentioned the show is rather dark, and it’s almost entirely plot driven. Whenever new parts of the conspiracies are revealed to the main characters, even more weird or dubious happenings will go on elsewhere. The show sets a nice pace throughout until it gets to the last three episodes, when things speed up and it becomes quite hard to follow everything, which is also the main criticism of the show. However, everything is actually explained, especially in episodes 10-12. but due to the large amount of things happening in those episodes, it can be hard to catch. And as you might have guessed, the show does not serve up all explanations on a silver platter, but rather seems to want the watcher to think a bit for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

All in all, I think it’s an excellent show, but as a supernatural mystery and as a mindscrew and I strongly recommend it to anyone with a taste for the either or both of the above. It’s also for you if you like mysterious, trenchcoated private eyes, werewolves or cyborgs. As the show itself is only 13 episodes, it most certainly won’t be a waste of your time.

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Pretty Shiny Lights!

August 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm (Games) (, , )

If you look around, you’ll find there’s quite a lot of pretty shiny lights around. The stars qualify, as does the moon. The sun does too, but as you see it the same every day (except when it’s raining) it’s a bit boring, so I’m only counting it whenever you remember it’s a giant ball of plasma that’s going to roast the Earth in an insanely huge number of years. And then there’s the lights of civilization and of fires and so on. There’s a lot.

But for the purpose of this blog, we’ll be talking about the spiffy little game that’s called Gratuitous Space Battles.  Which is a 2D game where yuu put together a fleet, give it general orders and then leans back to watch as it pounds the enemy fleet into tiny specks of space dust. This is of course done by means of a pretty lightshow. Lasers, blasters, missiles and plasma all work together with exploding space ships to make a most impressive lightshow.  And as anyone who’s talked to me about games lately might have gathered, I’m completely addicted.

Strange as it is to say, it’s not actually the lightshow part of the game that hooked me (though it definitely helped). No, what did the work was the huge number of customizations one can do. There’s a huge numbers of them and just to unlock everything you’ll be spending a few hours tinkering.

Now, the key to win against machine opponents seems to be missiles and lasers, based upon the strategy that if a ship’s an expanding ball of plasma, it can’t hurt you. (Unless you get caught in the shockwave.) The problem with this approach is that human player shave this unfortunate tendency of countering it. Sneaky bastards, the lot of them. Of course, the counters can actually be overcome by applying even MOAR MISSILE! but there’s only so many hardpoints (oh hello there, spellchecker. Nice to see you still hate me) to go around and having some point defence against fighters is a good idea. Specialist Aegis ships tends to get overwhelmed and then ships start dying. Honestly, unchecked Fighters in your cruiser formation is like a rampant buzz-saw in a chicken coup!

Of course, when the buzz-saw belongs to you, it’s all fun and games. But there WILL be a time when the opponent has a bigger one and then you can wave that shiny fleet goodbye. So make sure the buzz-saw belongs to you.

Now, due to the revelations mentioned above, I’ve been trying to change my approach and experiment a bit with close up weapons, like blasters, but I’m afraid I’m very firmly in the BEAMS AND MISSILES, BITCHES! category. I blame too many space operas. I mean, how often do you see/read capital ships sailing up to each other to chip away with machine gun lasers? Not very often, that’s when! Now missile storms and big, solid beams penetrating deep into the opposition, that comes around a lot!

I bet that’s because most people behind space operas are male.

~Scruffles (now riding a laser. It’s not going ve… PANTS ON FIRE!)

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August 24, 2010 at 10:58 pm (Anime, Cons) (, , )

As very recently mentioned, this blog is, among others, about such things as games and anime. (Which really does translate to general geekyness…)  Hey, two posts in and the spellchecker hates me already. Doing something right then. And it’ll be fun to see how it gets along with some of the funnier terms from fantasy literature. Like teleport. (Oh wait, it doesn’t like teleport.)

Comments about the spellchecker aside (there will be more), AmeCon was held about a week back. Or something like that. Vacations, me and timekeeping does not get along. Half the time I’m not even sure what day it is. So, anyway, AmeCon was held and I was there along with four friends.  The end.

Or not.  The first thing to keep in mind when travelling is that the human body (at least mine) isn’t made for getting up before ten o’clock in the morning. So getting up at 4.30 in the morning to reach a plane… happy fun times. Luckily, it could be made even funnier by hurling down a can of Burn in as short a time as possible. Oh caffeine, you make my life so much funnier. And shakier. And bouncy. There’s definitely some kind of weird bouncy thing going on somewhere when I drink the stuff. Possibly just my head.

So planes were flown and then trains were taken. It’s my impression that the British railways tends to work pretty well. So that wasn’t a problem. And Keely university (did I even get that right) turned out to have a gorgeous campus. Not quite as nice as Aberystwyth, but then I’m obviously biased.

And, totally surprising, there were cosplayers EVERYWHERE! Like, total surprise =p SHOCKU!

Riiight. But there was a lot of nice cosplays. Unfortunately… [I don’t think we’ll go there. Some of my opinions of cosplay are only suited for situations that involve copious amounts of alcohol AND good friends around. And since none of those applies right now…] But there were good ones. We looked at them.

In the evening, certain people decided they needed sleep, rather than doing anything else. Now let me tell you, just because you’ve not slept for a couple of days is no reason to wuss out of anything! =p Sleep is for the weak, and there’s plenty of time for it when there’s nothing important going on. And it makes for really good essays. I’m not sure how that works out, either.

And the next day there was more cosplay and the dealers room. I like Dealer’s Rooms at cons. It’s a damn good source of t-shirts. And they sold Touhou Project ones, so that made my day. Also got Reimu, Marisa and Sakuya buttons, now I just need to figure out where to put them. And I got a real nice wind-up watch.  And the rest of the days things happened, but they were, like, things, so that was cool and all. And there was the Masque, where I took pictures, but then got bored of taking pictures, ’cause the fuckers never stood so I could get really good ones. I’m blaming someone for that, and one day I’ll find out who! And then, MARSHMALLOWS WILL HAPPEN! Also, Fosters hats.

As it turned out, Balder (a ‘bitter’) tasted like cough syrup, which is not a good thing in alcohol. Mixing with coke made it bearable. Fosters was possible to drink, as usual, but that’s all that can be said for it. Luckily there’s always Wychwood beers. So beer and Magic (the gathering, not the real thing) happened during the evening. I did mention that about wusses and sleep, right?

The Sunday more things happened, but I don’t remember that much, so I guess it wasn’t that important. Or it was and I’ve just got a lousy memory. Probably the last. Which is the reason for notebooks. Seriously, look at Moleskin notebooks (totally not plugging). They are beautiful and easily fit in a pocket. And if you’re some pathetic runt of a geek, you can even pretend they’re Death Notes. Though if you need to pretend you’ve got a Death Note… damn, you’re sad.

The evening Sunday apparently proved that I’m not so hideously ugly that people (read: girls) flee at the sight. Which was nice. And I got to meet Tab ( who’s a lovely person, and had an educating panel about how to dress up as the opposite gender. Though the whole “stuffing things up and around so they don’t show” business is not something I’d care to try. Guess it’s one of the nicer ways to find out you don’t have any transvestitic leanings. (I said the spellchecker loves me, right?) But stuff like that’s always good to know, you never know when you end up writing a crossdresser into a stor… oh wait, you do know that.

And here mr Scruffles lecture in how to turn a con trip into an absolute shambles of a ramble comes to an end! (See, there’s a reason they don’t allow me to write much stream of conciousness. Bad things happen.)

~Scruffles. (I have tentacles. Be jealous!)

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August 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm (Rants) (, , , , , )

It would seem that some people have an amazing talent when it comes to remembering such little things as the account details for their blog accounts. I’m one of those amazing people. Though it’s really just a convenient excuse to use when the old blog doesn’t fit. So when the two come together… happiness!

Of course, maybe the main reason I keep losing blogs is because I never know what to write in them. So this time, I’m actually going to put down a few things that I’ll try to remember to blog about. Planning, it is genius, yes?

First of all, I guess I’ll be writing at least a little about anime. As the president of an Anime society I feel I’m entitled. We’ll have to see just what I write about these things, but, meh, it’ll come. What I can promise is that I’ll try not to be boring about it.

And then there’s books and writing. It’s what I study, after all, so it’s bound to be there. And since Iaverage about three books a week (when trying), it should definitely be a good source of writy material. And since I am a writer, there’ll probably be a few observations from that side of the fence as well. So there’ll be something in here about books, mostly sci-fi and fantasy, because they are the only genres worth reading. (Riiight!)

There was one more thing…

Oh yeah, games. Now what would my spare time be like without them? Well, there would of course be more time for everything else, but that is completely not relevant. Just to inform the curious, I’m mostly and RPG player, though I  can hold my own in most other genres: With the notable exceptions of racing and sports games. But are crimes against humanity, or something like that, and will be avoided.

And the last thing that I remembered only after, but that’s how lists work, isn’t it? Drinks. This thing is named from tea, after all, and that’s not really a coincidence. While I’m not quite addicted, I’m an avid tea drinker and is quite fond of trying out different blends. And there’s alcohol, which also is a liquid (at least most of the time), which is worth commenting upon. Because, frankly, drinking (in moderate amounts) is fun and don’t you dare tell me otherwise =p

~Scruffles (don’t ask about the name. Seriously. I have no idea how I ended up on it.)

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