Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shonen Otaku's Diary of Frank West: Final Day

It’s almost kind of fascinating how badly everything has gone to shit here.  People and zombies alike are being gunned down and all my friends are dead.  The UBCS is going to hide everything like at Santa Cabeza and the public will probably never know.  Sucks to be them.  I, on the other hand, am almost out of here.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After getting fatass chunks all over my coat and eating Carlito, I drove around the maintenance tunnels looking for Brad.  I found him, but not in top condition.

His guts were spilling out of his stomach and blood was coming out of his mouth.  Pretty nasty injuries, but he’d be fine if I took him back to the safe house for some magic milk.  I drank all the gallons I had.

Too bad Brad didn’t let me.  He told me to keep away.  Being a badass, he said it didn’t hurt.  I thought he was just being tough, so I poked him a few times and asked if it that hurt, but every time Brad said he didn’t feel a thing.

"I'm already dead."

And then he exploded.

I don’t know how that happened, but it was an awesome way to go.  To carry on his legacy, I liberated his gun.

I went back to show Isabella my cool new locket, just to rub it in her face, but when she saw it, it made her think of something else.  Before I knew it, she had already typed in the password!  All this time it was “patch a mama”, which in her strange language (pretty sure it’s Gaelic) means “mother earth.”  If this is what mom does to their earth, she is one harsh bitch.

Apparently Carlito put some sort of memory seal on Isabella that made her unable to remember the password until it was unlocked by the key that was his locket!  Who knows what other kinds of mystical properties (and extra value) I can get out of this!

I was expecting to find a computer consisting of 90% porn and 10% secret terrorist stuff, but there was no porn.  We were able to clear up the phone lines though, and we didn’t even have to use pickle relish to do it.

Not five seconds after that, Jessie called me on the walkie to tell me she was contacting DHS headquarters.  I screamed into it, telling her not to.  If she called for rescue, that bitch would get out of here alive!  I couldn’t let that happen!  Not after what she’d done!

At first I hurried over to the safe house to kill the bitch before she got away, but a few minutes later she called back and said HQ ignored her.  Instead, the government was coming in to kill everyone in the mall.  At first I felt relieved that she wasn’t getting away, but I quickly realized two even bigger problems: that the feds might steal my kill and that they might take my Twinkies outside!!

Well, they didn’t steal my kill, at least.  In fact, the military didn’t seem to be doing the work at all.  They hired the UBCS!  I knew Umbrella was in on this!

In minutes, the UBCS overran the mall and killed most of the zombies.  They were all heavily armed, but their machine guns and heavy armor didn’t stand a chance against my pistol and manly physique!  I got more shot up than Swiss cheese, but the food court was on the way to the safe house, so I just filled my belly up with even more messiah juice and was on my way.  I even managed to liberate a few of their guns off their lifeless corpses.

I’m sure some of these guys have families to go back to, but the needs of the people named Frank outweigh the needs of the many.

Luckily Jesse was still in the safe house, along with a couple of dead soldiers and a note from Otis.  Apparently Otis hijacked a military chopper and escaped with the survivors, meaning he must’ve killed those two soldiers in the process!  That son of a bitch!  They were innocent human beings just doing their job!  And now that Otis has his own helicopter, he could be anywhere in the world by now!

Why is evil slipping through my fingers?!

As I cursed the heavens in a dramatic monologue, Jessie caught me by surprise.  I managed to take a nice picture, but soon she was all over me, giving me one of the most vicious make-out sessions of my life.

Her eyes were practically red with excitement and I swear she bit me once or twice too.  I came in ready to kill her, but I made a judgment call and decided to let her embrace me one last time.

Then I remembered what she did.  What she had said: “Can’t blame her for running from a guy with your looks.”  That was when I blew her brains out.  If anyone asks, it was self-defense.

With only a couple hours to go until Kakashi arrived to pick me up, I was willing to wait out the rest of my time here on the helipad, as the UBCS has yet to find it.  No wonder they had to nuke Raccoon city.  These guys aren’t thorough.

I changed into some fresh clothes and was just about ready to get some camping supplies, but I heard a voice in my head, the same one that lied to me and said I can’t speak Japanese!  It told me to go back to Isabella!  Through all the heavily armed resistance and zombies!  Again I refused, but I was swayed when the voice started playing “Whip My Hair” on a loop.

It was, of course, a stupid idea to go out there while the military was taking over because they caught me by surprise and took me away!  Apparently one of the agents set their machine gun to stun and knocked me out while I was on the verge of death.  I have yet to figure out how to set mine to stun, but then again, I don’t care.

When I awoke, I found myself bound to a helicopter in my undies.  Could it be that the UBCS are in league with the cult?  And more importantly, did they violate me while I was unconscious again?!  My bunghole must be red as a tomato!

Thankfully the helicopter had yet to take off and the guards outside moved backwards and forward in a predictable fashion.  As a wise man once said, “I can break these cuffs!”

And I did.  By putting my cuffs under my butt and agonizing in self-taught constipation, I was able to force out an incredible turd with the density of steel that broke my bindings and allowed me to escape.   I don’t know where the patrolling guards went when I left.


I didn’t find any clothes on the way, so I had to meet Isabella in my undies.  She didn’t mind.

She told me that what the military is doing is just like what they did at Santa Cabeza and that I should’ve gone without her.  That’s it.

That's the plan.  It always has been.
I busted my ass getting there and was raped in the process just so she could tell me something I already knew and to do something I was going to do anyway.  I gave her a good backhand before leaving, the time-eating whore!

And I got kidnapped again on the way back to the heliport, so I had to make another cuff-breaking poop and run all the way back still in my undies.  I’ll have to remember to give her a second backhand for that.

I guess it was at least partially my fault for going back to the entrance plaza for camping equipment and stopping by the music store for a guitar, but any man would do the same if they were going to have to wait for hours.  Now I have my camp set up until Kakashi comes to get me out of this hellhole.  In the meantime, I guess I’ll practice my guitar playing.

I hope the UBCS doesn’t hear this.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bobobo-bo-bo-bobo Review

No anime fan is a stranger to the bizarre.  Sometimes it’s cultural differences, but anime has some of the most wacked-out, creative, and sometimes supposedly drug-induced images and concepts none of us could come up with ourselves.  You need only look at Panty & Stocking, Lucky Star, or even the aptly titled Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure to see why anime has such a strong presence and fandom.

That’s not to say America doesn’t have its own weirdness.

But when I watch a strange anime, I catch myself thinking the same thing every time: “That was weird as hell, but it wasn’t Bobobo.”  No matter how weird an anime may get, I have yet to see anything more outlandish and mind-warping than Yoshio Sawai’s Bobobo-bo-bo-bobo.

The title alone should tell you it’s a weird one, but it goes far deeper than that.  Bobobo isn’t just weird and it wasn’t made on narcotics.  Bobobo-bo-bo-bobo is itself a narcotic; one you take just by watching it instead of snorting or injecting.  It is considered one of the most dangerous known to man, so much so that most drug dealers don’t dare stock it.  Watching it for too long at one time turns even the most intelligent human being into a babbling, head-banging psychopath.

That is the power of Bobobo.  And I love it.

Please do not click out of this page before you finish reading the show’s presmise.
Bobobo-bo-bo-bobo tells the story of a group of rebels led by the titular hero, who is one of the last remaining people of the Hair Kingdom, which was wiped out by the evil Chrome Dome Empire.  The Chrome Dome Empire, led by Czar Baldy Bald the Fourth, seeks to take over the world and shave everyone in it bald.

Being a parody of shonen, the overall structure is simple and straightforward.  Bobobo and his ever-increasing posse of allies fight villain after villain using their ridiculous abilities (super fists) and reality-warping randomness.  On the heroes side, there are characters like Hatenko, who uses the Super Fist of the Key, Gasser, with his Super Fist of the Backwind, and Service Man, whose only method of attack is flashing the enemy.

Bobobo himself, being of the Hair Kingdom, uses the Super Fist of the Nose Hair along with his “Wiggin’” fighting style, which basically lets him do anything he wants when he calls for it… Anything!  As the name of the technique implies, many of Bobobo’s attacks use his nose hair as well as his giant blonde afro.

Don’t close out of this!  This is serious!

Then there’s Beauty.  Beauty tags along with Bobobo for protection and questions things.  Silly girl.  There are no answers, and there are no rules.  There is only Bobobo.

But Don Patch is a good guy!

There are even more villains in the show than heroes, most of whom have fighting styles that are just as mad, such as Halekulani, who weaponizes money, Nunchuck Nick, who weaponizes tape, and Lambada, who turns objects into, and manipulates, polygons.

The insanity of when these superpowers clash is the main appeal of the show.  Every fight contains many puns, parodies, tons of nonsense, and more than enough mindfuckery to make you clutch your head.  You can choose any random episode and enjoy it.

That video is what your brain feels like when you’re watching Bobobo.  There’s no deep message to discuss or even characters to describe a whole lot other than “everyone is completely out of their minds (except Beauty and most villains)!”  It is the epitome of the surreal action comedy.

Much of the entertainment value can be attributed to the nigh-perfect English version, written by some of the best writers in anime, including Jeff Nimoy and Bob Buchholz, best known for their work on Digimon and the greatest anime ever made, Viewtiful Joe.  Like Digimon and Viewtiful Joe though, the English version was aired on TV and had to be censored (more than the anime was toned down from the manga), but I think that works in the show’s favor by giving it a much more innocent feel to it.

It’s a good thing they had control of this one, because I don’t think anyone less could pull off this kind of translation.  While the original manga and anime are enjoyably weird, there are a lot of Japanese cultural references and especially puns that could never be translated into the English language directly.

The heroes are playing an evil board game, and Bobobo first rolled a rhinoceros, so now he's rolling an elephant.

They remained faithful to the plot, but Japanese puns were replaced with English ones, the copious Japanese text was referenced as illegible, and the narrator was given a humongous role upgrade.

Even when not technically necessary, the English version makes something even funnier than it already was.

The English version of Bobobo has the chattiest narrator in any work, and with the hammy voice of Michael McConnohie pointing out stupidity, complaining about production and talking about his own life in the middle of the show, he’s one of the best parts.

The rest of the voice actors are also perfectly cast.  Fans of Digimon and the Viewtiful Joe anime will no doubt recognize many of the English version’s voice talent.  Bobobo is voiced by Richard Epcar (Myotismon, Ansem, after Billy Zane), second main character Don Patch is voiced by Kirk Thorton (Rotten Jack, Saix), Jelly Jiggler has the voice of Jameson Price (Commander Samson in Data Squad & Iron Tager in Blazblue), and Beauty is voiced by Philece Sampler (Mimi, Silvia).  Several other great actors include Jeff Nimoy (Viewtiful Joe) himself as Hatenko and the ever-underrated David Lodge (Jiraiya) as Giga and Czar Baldy Bald the Third, two of the best villains in the series.  All of them deliver their lines with as much enthusiasm as they can muster.  They have to speak, scream, change tones in an instant, and do everything in between.  They’re perfect for a series all about ridiculous and overblown fighting.

You’d think a series that’s just nothing but idiots battling evil by being as random as possible would get stale.  Truth be told, it can get repetitive on long viewing sessions, but like so many shonen series, there are enough set pieces and ideas to keep it interesting.  In one episode, Bobobo’s gang fights a group of villains on the rim of a giant toilet bowl, and anyone who falls in swells up like a balloon.  In another, they must fight a group of villains on bungee cords.  The fun never stops until the rather disappointing ending.

The Bobobo anime was cut short and wasn’t able to finish the entire run of the manga it’s based on.   In fact, in the final episode, the narrator outright says “we’ve run out of episodes.”  They make a joke out of it in their usual self-referential way, but it still comes out of nowhere and leaves you wanting more.

But I’m content with the 79 episodes we got, because they are outrageous works of surrealist humor, and not in that stupid Gainax way, where they resort to sexuality and make token attempts to take themselves seriously.  Bobobobo is like one good long joke.

It’s an anime that needs to be seen to be believed, so I highly recommend getting it on DVD.  The entire series is available in two box sets by S’more Entertainment.  These DVD versions keep the edited English version, but add small commercial interludes, the second Japanese opening, and the Japanese closing songs, none of which were in the version broadcasted on TV.

The DVD also seems to have added unaired bits later on in the show, in which the episode is given another recap and a second title in the middle.  I assume these were recorded, but cut from the original broadcast, likely due to its redundancy, but it does give the narrator more lines, which is always a good thing.

Disappointingly, the Japanese version doesn’t come with subtitles in the DVD release, not that it matters.  The English version is the best version, but it would have been great to see how the puns played out in Japanese (you can still make some of such puns and the original names out if you can read the Japanese text present in the English version, however).

They call it lightning ball, but the text says "psycho ball" (Athena?).

Because of its surreal nature and very shonen roots, Bobobo-bo-bo-bobo isn’t for anyone looking for a grounded experience (even by anime standards), but considering its popularity, there are a lot of people who can love it.  I am one of those people, and I give Bobobo an 8 out of 10.

I would like to end this review with a note from Mr. Nimoy himself:

“It’s an easy show to write.  All you have to do is take three hits of acid and then you just [zoom].”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

10 King of Fighters items that would be great for TF2

Some time after the introductions of hats and accessories to Team Fortress 2, game companies started using them to promote their Steam-distributed games by offering exclusive TF2 items as a bonus for pre-ordering or buying it before a certain date.  Said items almost always come directly from the game being promoted itself and as far as gameplay goes, they’re usually purely for show.
It’s obviously used as a way to drive up sales, but from my point of view, these items are badges to be worn with pride.  If you bought a game and like it, promotional items let you parade to the world “I love this game!”  I, for example, have the Heavy’s Poker Visor from Telltale Games’ Poker Night at the Inventory.  I love that game.

Other promoted items include Max’s head from Sam & Max, various Japan-themed items for Total War: Shogun 2, and Adam’s glasses & robotic arm from Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Most promotional items nowadays can still be crafted without needing to buy anything, but it can be tedious to do, and the ones not obtained through the promotion don’t have the “genuine” quality mark the others do, not that it makes a big difference.

Unfortunately, there’s one franchise on Steam that needs its own promotional items.  For regular readers of this blog, you have 1 guess.
The Steam edition of The King of Fighters 13 has made the transition to our favorite digital PC distributor quite nicely.  It came with chibi icons for everyone in 13 as well as the final bosses of 2003 & 11, achievements carried over from the other versions, Steam trading cards, and all the bonuses that come with the Steam badges, like emoticons and profile backgrounds.

The only thing KOF 13 seems to be missing on Steam is promotional TF2 items.  I know other Steam fighting games haven’t gotten them either, like Street Fighter X Tekken or Super Street Fighter 4, but they at least had a nice shout-out with the slightly-altered version of M. Bison’s cap.

Why then, can that not be done for the clearly superior King of Fighters games?  The characters in The King of Fighters have some of the best-looking outfits and weapons in any fighting game, always looking somewhat practical, but most of all, cool, and they would definitely look cool on the mercenaries of Team Fortress 2.

To prove it, I present to you these 10 King of Fighters items that would be great additions to Team Fortress 2’s wardrobe list.  I’d sure as hell buy them.

  1. Oswald’s glasses

Equippable by: Spy

Oswald was specifically designed with his glasses in mind, and it shows.  Team Fortress 2 has several glasses already, so what’s one more pair?

  1. Tizoc’s mask

Equippable by: Heavy

Team fortress 2 already has bird heads (for Halloween) and a luchador mask.

Another promotional item set.
So why not a luchador mask with a bird’s head?  If it were to come with the cape as well, that’d be even better.

  1. Malin’s hammer

Equippable by: Pyro 

This one isn’t as easy to see in the 2 games Malin appears in, and because it’s her leader special move, you won’t see her Salamander Smasher attack often.  It is, however, used as a Steam emoticon from The King of Fighters 13.  Giving the Pyro a hammer of that size would make it stand out from the others he can equip.

  1. Terry’s Hat

Equippable by: All classes

Again, Team Fortress 2 already has a few trucker hats, like Ellis’ and Mann Co’s, but if they were to incorporate anything KOF into TF2, they would be obligated to include Terry Bogard’s iconic Fatal Fury hat.  It’s so iconic they brought it back after its absence in the two games before it, consistency be damned.

  1. Duck King’s Mohawk

Equippable by: Scout

There’s a small number of Mohawks in TF2.  They should change that with Duck King’s awesome hairdo.

  1. Benimaru’s hair

Equippable by: Heavy, Medic, Scout, & Soldier

Watch your head. 

  1. Chin’s gourd

Equippable by: Demoman (to hang on his belt)

A battlefield’s no place to be drunk.  But if you’re going to be, bring something to carry it with.

  1. Hwa Jai’s headband & top knot

Equippable by: Scout & Heavy

We have a samurai’s top knot for the heavy, but Hwa Jai’s is taller and has a nifty band to go with it.  Come to think of it that bottle looks pretty nice too...

  1. Billy Kane’s striped bandana

Equippable by: Scout

Bison’s lawyers say “Yes!  Yes!”  Billy’s say “Hey hey hey!”  The scout hasn’t gotten a bandana to wear yet either.

  1. Raiden’s mask

Equippable by: Sniper

A mask by Australians, for Australians.

Maybe someday someone from Valve or a community content creator will read this and make at least some of these a reality.  While I’m dreaming I’d also like a pair of Ralf’s fingerless gloves that explode for massive damage with each punch.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shonen Otaku's Diary of Frank West: Night 3

Sometimes life gives you a poopy hand, and I got a 2, 4, 10, get out of jail free, and Petit Dragon.  When that happens, the only thing to do with a bad hand is to turn them into weapons like that guy from X-men!

Following my little escapade with Ozzy Osbourne and Carlito’s computer, I found that what Jesse had to show me on the monitor.  It showed Carlito being dragged by a chain into an underground butcher shop by a large, bald, fat guy.  At the time I thought it was Brad, and he just took on some weight getting ready for a Brad-style smackdown.  I wanted in on the fun, so I followed him down there myself.

Whoah.  Dude.  What has Brad been EATING?
Only I didn’t find Brad down there.  I thought I did at first, but then he turned to look at me after hanging some meat on a giant hook and I saw that the man didn’t have his two front teeth!  Brad loves his front teeth!  Even if he had to forcefully pull them out he’d glue them back in!  Whoever this guy was, he was not Brad!  He just brought in some nice-looking meat though, so I didn’t want to make him mad and get me kicked out.

He offered to give it to me ground, but I prefer my meat tenderized.  Just as I was about to tell him that, he went off on a tangent blabbering about how zombies weren’t good meat.  I didn’t say zombies were good meat!  Just don’t make my meat into a man-wich!

You got to spray some Mr. Clean on it first.

The guy must not have heard me, possibly due to the excess fat clogging up his eardrums.  He started up his machine and my meat started moving toward his grinder on a conveyor belt.  It was just seconds away from not being the way I wanted it!  I had to save my meat!

No!  I want meat now!

That was harder than it sounded.  First I had to get to the control panel, and that meant getting fatass out of the way… Permanently.  I pumped the bastard full of lead at point blank range with my shotgun, but all the pellets sunk right into his fat!  He was hardly fazed!  That's what I call kevlard.  He had enough strength to lift me up, hang me on a filthy hook, and cut me like a cow while I screamed “eat mor chiken!”

Mercifully he didn't make the "hanging around" joke.
I ran out of super-shakes, but luckily fatso had some milk cartons lying around to fix me up.

Those commercials always say that milk helps build strong bones, but it’d be more effective to tell everyone that milk magically heals all wounds you may get from a crazy fat dude with a cleaver.  Then again, it seems to only do that when inside the Willamette mall, so I can see how the advert’s message would be skewed.

It was a fight of much blood, screaming, and break dancing that seemed to have lasted for hours.  That was the problem.
As the both of us were worn down, I glanced at my meat and saw that it was just inches away from the grinder!  My perfectly intact meal was about to be turned into a splintery bone-filled ground meat, no doubt to be sold at Mc Donalds on the dollar menu!

It was at that moment something awakened deep inside of me.  I felt as though my desire for my meat filled me with some sort of ethereal power and took full control of my body!  My leg lifted on its own, and


Hokuto!  Ju Hazan!

So that happened.

To my surprise, my meat turned out to actually be none other than Carlito!  He was quickly choking on his own blood, but not enough to interrupt his death speech.

He told me he did what he did to get revenge for what happened to Santa Cabeza, then told me about how zombies are great.
My response was this: 1. I didn’t do jack to Santa Cabeza.  I didn’t even know what the place was.  I thought something had happened to Santa Claus, so all this time he made me worry about nothing but some hobo land getting screwed!
2. If zombies are so great, why did he shoot that innocent zombie in the entrance plaza?!

And then he asked me why the people in Santa Cabeza had to die to feed us.

I didn’t even need to give him the answer to that one: it’s because meat tastes good.  Clearly he’s never tried any, the ignorant hippie.

In his parting words before tumbling down to that inferno in the ground, he gave me his locket, told me to give it to his sister, and said that his plans were not over.

But I’m not going to do him any favors.  I’m ready to make a fortune off of that thing!  Imagine all the meat and Twinkies I could buy!

It kinda... Floated in front of my hand.

But for now I’m content with just feasting on the meat I fought so hard for.  It’s not cannibalism if no one sees it, right?