Beautiful suffering, part two

So, here I am again with another bout of insomnia, so let's continue with the review of the Weiss Kreuz OAV. This is Strafe, and it marks the end of WK canon as I know it. Let's see what kind of an ending we're going to get. There are going to be a lot more pictures this time around, because boy do they suffer prettily; I wouldn't keep you in the dark. Spoilers all over the place, naturally. Boys, say hi!

We bleed for you!

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That was a fun trip down memory lane. I may have to turn this into a New Year tradition; it's good to look back once in a while. For now, I'll just try to get that catchy, angsty music out of my head. No no no don't cry! *boogies*
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    Weiss: Epitaph

Happy New Year! Now die prettily!

So, 2011, huh. Seems like I barely got used to 2010 before it moved up a notch again. Could this mean I'm... getting old? Perhaps I need to reclaim my youth! Quick, to the timemachine!

*crappy sound effect*

Oh wow, 2001! Shiny! Exclamation marks! I'm thin and confused and obsessed with dark, edgy stuff, like pretty florists who kill people with wires and darts!

Yeah, all this was an introduction to my new favourite way to spend the New Year's Eve: watching anime I used to like when I was a teenager, with the help of a drinking game. Oh boy. The amount of shame could've floored me, if not for the soothing effect of like-minded company (thanks, guys; you rock hard) and really rather good organic vodka. I used to like some fairly good manga and anime when I was a teenager, like Rurouni Kenshin or Angel Sanctuary, but oh lord, there's one anime that's just killed by hindsight: Weiss Kreuz. What the hell were we thinking back then? That anime was horrible! The premise is ridiculous, yet taken Very Seriously throughout, the animation mostly nonexistent and the plots make no sense.

The alcohol didn't help. Weiss Kreuz is still stupid and lazily done. The animators in particular should be ashamed of themselves; half the time, the characters have faces like potato sacks and although this is an anime about four assassins, hardly any fight scenes are animated at all. I think the only thing this anime had going for it was pretty, angsty men posing in the rain, and they couldn't even manage that. Pathetic.

For those of you who have no idea what WK is about, I can try to explain - but this is one of those instances when people usually say, "you had to be there". It sounds incredibly stupid, but here we go: there's this group of assassins called Weiss (geddit, they're the good assassins) who work in a flower shop by day and kill people by night. Yes, a flower shop, where they all live (in the anime, that is). They're all pretty young men, named Aya (the brooding nothing-matters-but-the-mission leader of the group who is obsessed with his comatose little sister), Ken (the boring nice one who used to be a big football star), Youji (the slutty chainsmoker who actually looks over 16 years old) and Omi (the cheerful wunderkind who not only goes to school, works in the flower shop and assassinates by night, but also has mad hacking skills and makes all their mission plans and assumably never sleeps). They only own one outfit each per season, not counting their special assassination outfits of course, have their own cat breed code names and image flowers and significant bloodtypes and Deep Personal Issues and Dark Pasts, and Have To Spend Hours Standing Morosely In The Rain Asking Why. They are voiced by extremely talented and popular voice actors who sing catchy songs. Weiss were put together by Kritiker, a super-seekrit organisation of do-gooders who give them their missions and whose leader is the police commissioner, codenamed Persia.

The opposition consists mostly of power-hungry psychopath politicians (Reiji Takatori being the most prominent), a vague death cult and two other assassin teams: Schreient, the disturbing group of women put together by Takatori's son who is a paedophiliac evil scientist (enough said), and Schwarz (geddit geddit they're the evil assassins!) who are fucking awesome and wipe the floor with Weiss. Seriously. Upon re-watching the series, it seems to me that Schwarz should've been the main characters; they're much cooler and more interesting characters - granted, they're also quite insane. And they never. Ever. Lose. Kickass!

So, yeah. If you're not into pretty men being vaguely homoerotic together while killing people and angsting in the rain (NEVER FORGET TO ANGST IN THE RAIN) Weiss Kreuz has literally nothing to offer you. The voice acting is great, but everything else sucks; the anime is essentially a freebie for the voice actor fans who buy the Weiss CDs. The fandom wrote much, much better plots, and paid much more attention to the fight scenes and assassination strategies than the makers of this anime. I'd actually encourage people to skip the anime and go straight for the fanfic if this premise sounds good to you.

After 25 episodes of this shit, we were hungover and thoroughly ashamed of ourselves for ever finding it cool. Granted, some female characters were unexpectedly nice - but they're girls in Weiss Kreuz, so that means they die by the end of the episode. And Schreient, especially the paedo-bait Tot - dear lord, "disturbing" doesn't begin to cover it. We still had the two OAV episodes, Verbrechen and Strafe, to watch, and weren't looking forward to it. (For those of you wondering why we didn't bother with Glühen, the "reimagining" of the series, I have one word for you: bleh. Also, we didn't have it.)

Imagine our surprise, then, when we found ourselves liking the OAVs to some degree.

I'm still on holiday, and have time to kill, so here begins my review of Verbrechen and Strafe, the only part of Weiss Kreuz worth the trouble. Well, there's the manga, but it's basically a short prequel to the anime and you can find it scanlated somewhere, I'm sure. The art is quite pretty and dark; if only the anime was more like it. The OAVs come the closest to the manga in spirit, I think, because they have what the anime series never had: actual consistent animation, character development and FOUNTAINS OF BLOOD! Even the plot is quite good, even if it's somewhat ruined in the end by the giant WTF plot twist... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

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The review of Strafe coming soon.
  • Current Music
    Weiss: Beautiful Alone

Robin Hobb's latest books make me ranty. Oh so ranty.

My Box of X has been dead a month now. Or, to be more precise, my 360 is ded from coke error E74; my old faithful X-Box still works beautifully. So, in case you were wondering why there haven't been more posts brimming with Mass Effect 2 related squealing, that's the reason. Oh, and I also managed to exhaust myself with my summer job, but I'm getting better now that I'm back at the uni.

Anyway, it's pissing rain outside, but I'm happily indoors with fluffy socks on my feet and I have lovely new tea called Yoga Chai in my ginormous mug, so let's talk books.

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  • Current Music
    Howard Shore: Very Old Friends

Saving galaxies is a job best left for professionals.

Wow, I haven't blogged in an age and a half. I have a lot of pent-up bloggery in store, so watch out - I'm about to talk your ears off about (what else?) Bioware and my continuing love-love -relationship with it, particularly their latest release. Because what else do I have to blog about? My love life is on the same "meh" level (the necessary amount of XP seems hard to come by), my studies are on a summer hiatus and my job is dull as shit. So spaceships and dragons and monkey thieves it is.

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I could go on about this game forever, but I think I'll stop here for now and come back to Bioware-worshipping later. By the by, here's a little soundtrack I made for Mass Effect 2. Some songs are a better fit than others, but hey, it's just one fan's soundtrack. YM, as always, MV.

[ download the whole zipped thing here ]

1. Shiny Toy Guns: Starts With One
Of course, it all starts with Shepard.
2. M83: Unrecorded
Finding your place in the universe again.
3. The Eden House: To Believe In Something
One for the team, and earning their trust and loyalty.
4. Kontakte: Sterile World
5. M83: Cyborg
Geth and beyond.
6. 65daysofstatic: Fix The Sky A Little
Just a hopeful mood piece. For the flotilla, mostly.
7. Moby: We Are All Made Of Stars
Faith and trust in the cold galaxy.
8. E.S. Posthumus: Unstoppable
For Normandy, Joker and EDI being epic and winning everything.
9. Collapse Under The Empire: Further Than The End Of The World
The last mission is not the end.
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The character meme answers.

I guess everyone's done asking questions for the character meme, so here are the answers...

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That was a fun meme! I kind of wished there would've been more questions, but these were all highly entertaining...
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    amused amused
steampunk gentleman

Oh look, it's meme time again.

Yes, this is exactly how boring my life is these days. Nothing to post but an endless parade of memes. Ah well. This one, from astrogirl2, is a little different, and sounded cracky enough to be worth a few giggles.

1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your flist to post questions in the comments. For example: 'One, nine and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?', 'Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?', 'Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?'

3) After your flist has asked enough questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.

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    blah blah

I have Dragon Age on hold while I'm typing this

Bioware does not care about students.

It does not care that one game costs as much as an entire month's grocery shopping these days.

It does not care that students have part-time jobs and lectures to attend which unfortunately don't take place in space or a fantasy elf land.

But most of all, it does not care about the addiction it spreads. Screw heroin, I can date Garrus! While wearing dragon armour! In space! Well, I wouldn't know about Mass Effect 2 yet, actually, because my brain can only take one massive game addiction at a time and since I'm on a fantasy kick I chose Dragon Age: Origins. It's Biowaretastically awesome, just as I predicted. I was only going to make a character and play through the opening to see what it was like and then it was six hours later and I had laughed and cried and it had changed my life. At first, it all seemed so quaint and familiar - elves and dwarves and evil undead, and oh look, here comes the Bioware Male with his self-deprecating sense of humour, and the Bioware Female who seems like the biggest bitch in Bitchendom but actually has a heart. Yes, I've seen all this before. But, y'know, it's a lovely kind of quaint. I don't mind clichés in my fantasy, or in my games in general, if they're handled this well. And although Alistair made me roll my eyes a lot at first, determined that my badass stoic character would certainly not romance him, he and his stupid hair are slowly starting to win me over, blast him. What can I say, Bioware, obviously you've found a winning formula and stuck to it, and bless your dialogue-loving hearts for it, too.

I'd just like to say that I fucking love my character's family, and honestly felt bad when some of them inevitably died. So suck on that, Bethesda, who built the entire plot of Fallout 3 around a father figure so bland and unlikable I tried to both ditch him and get him killed with even my nicest characters. You can go on sucking, too, Bethesda, because I tried some Oblivion when I hadn't yet got my hands on Dragon Age and it was the most boring gaming experience since the time I counted all my d12s. Now I know where all the most tedious parts of Fallout 3 came from. (Mind, I do think Fallout 3 was a good game. But it wasn't supposed to be good, it was supposed to be FALLOUT, which spells FANTABULOUS in my books.)

Excuse me, I need to get my fix now before I get the shakes. I LOVE BIOWARE YOU LOVE BIOWARE WE ALL LOVE BIOWARE ANY QUESTIONS?
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    geeky geeky
steampunk gentleman

Jännä kirjameemi.

Ryöstin pihkaalta.

Kirja #1 -- ensimmäinen lause
Kirja #2 -- viimeinen lause sivulta 50
Kirja #3 -- toinen lause sadannelta sivulta
Kirja #4 -- viimeistä edeltävä lause sivulta 150
Kirja #5 -- kirjan loppulause

Tee ylläolevista lauseista yksi kappale ja katso mitä syntyy.

Tuhatkahdeksansataaluvun loppuvuosina ei kukaan olisi voinut uskoa, että tätä meidän maailmaamme pitivät tarkasti ja hellittämättä silmällä ihmistä suuremmat ja silti yhtä kuolevaiset älyt, että samaan aikaan kun ihmiset hyörivät omien askareittensa parissa heitä tarkkailtiin ja tutkittiin kenties yhtä yksityiskohtaisesti kuin mikroskoopin käyttelijä saattaa tarkastella vesipisarassa parveilevia ja lisääntyviä lyhytikäisiä olentoja. Suckerien armeija yllättää heidät kesken irstailun, ja yhtä kalpeana varjona kuin armeija itse saapuu kuolema. Sillä minuahan partani suojaa loitsuilta ja taioilta. Nyt kuulen jotakin alakerrasta - alhaalta kellarista. Pian minä vietän yksinäni tuota viimeistä juhlaa joka kumoaa sanasi, vain todistaakseni miten täydellisesti olen ymmärtänyt niiden totuuden.


H. G. Wells: Maailmojen sota
Pedro Almodóvar: Pornotähti ja muita juttuja
Aili Somersalo: Mestaritontun seikkailut
W. H. Hodgson: Kauhujen talo
Markku Sadelehto (toim.): Musta kivi

Hihii. Ehkä kaksi kauhukirjaa varmisti tämän lovecraftiaanisen sävyn...