World Masterpiece Theater, anime classics

Many anime fans of more recent generations practically since they were children they knew that word and vaguely knew which kind of series described because the anime series had become something that even if they aren so moch distributed is at least familiar and identifiable by the people. But for older generations, in many countries other than U.S.A., whom we had our childhood on the 80’s or even on the 70’s or first contacts with anime series a lot of time were with the ones that were broadcast  on local TV networks which were series normally suitable for all the family like the ones based on novels and tales.

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Many of these anime series that used to broadcast on many TV networks  around the world on family hours a few times we were aware that they were made on some country on Asia and even less we knew they were anime because it wasn’t a known and used word back then, so only looking back in retrospective we had been aware that they were our first anime series we watched in our life. Because of this those had become cult and admired series by many since they became something important as part of our life or at least they have a nostalgic value, but even with this we mustn’t subestimate many of these classic anime series that frequently were based on good world literature novels and tales.

Now with the knowledge and information plublished on the web about anime series now we know that many of these old anime series based on novels not just were produced by the same animation studios, Nippon Animation, but in fact they belong to a collection of series based literature works called Sekai Meisaku Gekiyo that is translated as World Masterpiece Theater and indeed that’s the way that collection is called around the world.

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Dungeons and Dragons animated and Lalabel my magical girl

Being myself a person that belongs to the ones born on the second half of the seventies, I was fortunate enough that as a child knew many of the classic animated series thata are talked about a lot recently and as a teenager I also could watch and enjoy its evolution with the fun and very creative animated series of the nineties. But I have to point out that maybe most of the animated series that left a deep impression on my life belong to the eighties in which sometimes the animators and writers didn’t have many restrictions on the stories that they could tell and they learnt from the legacy of series of the seventies that experimented with stories from absurd and childish to very dramatic mostly on the case of anime series.

The Dungeon Master and the young protagonists.

The Dungeon Master and the young protagonists.

Of these animated series that are important for me there is the animated series called Dungeons & Dragons which based on the classic pen and paper RPG it tells us the story of a group of teenagers that twhen they decide to ride an attraction on an amusement park called Dungeons and Dragons they are magically transported to the world of medieval fantasy of thw game where after they are received by the powerful Dungeon Master he asigns them their jobs or classes inside that world giving them magical weapons and items according to these jobs. So the group of teenagers consists of their leader Hank, the ranger, the athletic and independent Diana, the acrobat, the shy but smart Presto, the magician, the fearful and sensitive Sheila, the thief, her impulsive younger brother Bobby, the barbarian, the coward and boastful Eric, the chavalier and the one that is usually the comic relief Uni, the little unicorn. These young guys will go on adventures to find some way to return to their world when they are guided by the Dungeon Master  who will give them cryptic clues about what to do and where to go constantly fighting their enemy, the powerful wizard Venger who’s only afraid of the terrible five headed dragon Tiamat.

Venger, the dangerous wizard and the enemy.

Venger, the dangerous wizard and the enemy.

The most impressive thing about this series besides the well animation by Toei Animation it’s the story told where the characters despite that sometimes are stereotypes of their personalities they always mantain certain realism since they have natural reactions to the extraordinary situations they face, besides that their adventure take us along the world of the game with good twists of the story and a well thought development and evolution both of the story and the characters which is deep because nothing and nobody is what it looks at first sight. Despite that is episodic the development of each chapter they follow a main plot where what it happens on a previous episode affects how things happen on the next chapters but unfortunately despite that it was written the final episode the series were canceled just before it was animated  so it’s unfinished existing a recorded audio that tells the story of that chapter. To myself it’s a series that I always remember with a lot of excitement that showed me how there can be complex stories on animation besides that it made me become interested  on fantasy worlds.

Tre pretty Lalabel and her cat (male).

Tre pretty Lalabel and her cat (male).

Another series that influenced me a lot was Lalabel, the Magical Girl (Mahou Shoujo Lalabel) that as its name describes it it’s a series of the magical girls genre that follows the adventures of the witch from another world called Lalabel That when she tries to stop the wizard Biscus from stealing two briefcases with magical items and running away to the human world she also ends up by accident on the human world where she’s adopted by the elder couple the Tachibanas whom together with their granddaughter  Teko they are the only ones that know her real identity as a witch. From then on we’ll see Lalabel’s daily life who slowly will be adapting to live with the humans from whom she’ll learn a lot of lessons to become a better person, often fighting with Biscus  and his henchman, Mr. Ochiba whom they’ll always try to fool the people to get easy money which Biscus will use to get ramen, his favorte food.

Al the main characters including her adoptive grandparents and friends.

Al the main characters including her adoptive grandparents and friends.

This is the last series of the classic magical girls from Toei that started the genre so it has a simple story aimed for children where we’ll se how Lalabel faces daily common problems for a child with a touch of magic and where the magical girl doesn’t fight against dangerous villains and she doesn’t transforms only when the situation requires it. For me it’s a series I remember for its lessons that gave us with each episode and because it was the first magical girl series I knew and the one that made me I become fan of the genre since then, mostly because of how pretty Lalabel was drawn that with simple but lovely clothes attracted and fascinated me that character making me start looking naively as a child  a girl with similar features.

The pretty clothes and looks with which I fell in love as a kid.

The pretty clothes and looks with which I fell in love as a kid.

Two series that, independently of my preference for them, I recommend you watch them because they are very representative and extraordinary examples of the animated series of its time.

Little big differences of studying at UAM Azcapotzalco

By the title would think that I’m gonna make promotion to the college that was my alma mater, and even if there is unnintended something of that, y mostly make this article to show them how different was my experience of studying specifically on UAM Azcapotzalco (because there are many differences in comparison to another UAM campuses) in contrast with another universities and college institutes with models and systems more traditional of what it has been used to be for the people arond Mexico.

The ususal spring scene of UAM-A with the jacaranda trees blooming.

The ususal spring scene of UAM-A with the jacaranda trees blooming.

To stast off the main difference that a lot of people doesn’t know and many students feel weird about UAM of Azcapotzalco (or UAM-A) is that instead of creating specific groups of a particular career speciality that will be taking certain courses on certain time schedules and periods where the people you meet when your start your studies is the same people that you will see along all your daily studies, the students choose their couses one by one indenpendently with the only requirement of covering all the courses that are needed for the career within the expected time frame. This means that each person will have their own class hour schedule and their particular groups with the subjects that he or she chose for that period, as a result with each class a student may or may not meet the same classmates because with each class you’ll change groups passing the time with people that probably will be studying another carrers.

This system may be familiar for those that have studied on U.S. colleges because it works very similar there, but for the average mexican student it can be unconfortable and weird (mostly for those very methodic students that work with a familiar routine and format) because we get used on previous schools that that the group in which you start your studies it’s the same that you’ll have until you graduate, that your subjects and schedules are already defined each new course and in consequence  your activities, teachers and studies are the same and you follow the same pattern as all your classmates from which probably many of them will become your friends.

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The building for many engineering labs.

Add to this that the UAM in general gives courses that finish on a trimester meaning that they last 12 counted weeks which is a very short time for a lot of people that is used to take courses that are  a semester long becoming very valuable each week and day of classes, It’s indeed so valued each day of classes that besides that all the students and teachers are counting the number of week that is on the moment, if as a student you decide to skip classes (teachers are not obligued to take attendance) or stop making the work of each subject you will have great consequences having very little time to study the lost topics seen in class (that might be needed to understand the rest topics of the course) and to complete works that can easily pile up. Because of this the students at UAM usually get used to work quick and harder or be completely cool if they notice they can’t keep up with the rest of the class.

Another specific difference for the engineering students of the UAM Azcapotzalco is that there is the option of choosing the grups with the SAI model (which stands for Individualized Learning System) where the student goes with the teacher the first day to meet him or her, get the topics and subjects to study, get the bibliography that is gonna be used and to know which and how much tests one has to take. After that the student studies by himself or herself with the chosen books and goes with the teacher to ask questions about the subjects or take the test of the subject. The advantage of these courses is that each one works at their own pace and since there is a test by topic instead of a test for many topics it’s easier to learn and pass the tests, not to mention the individual atention that you get from the teachers. But because this kind of courses differs a lot with the common way of studying and learning from what the teacher presents in class it isn’t an option that many like, mostly if they are persons that have a hard time working by themselves.

The top runway of the computing building.

The top runway of the computing building.

It’s important to mention that all of this is described from m point of view as an engineering student because there are particular dynamics that are diffferent with Social Sciences, Humanistics and Design students that they also study on the same unit (or campus). But since we’re talking about another careers’ students, on UAM Azcapotzalco despite that there are certain buildings where the students of each field of knowledge usually are, there are certain optative subject courses, many open spaces and extracurricular activities in which one can meet people from another very different careers. And even if all of this may become a difficulty to meet people and make friends for less social people, something unusual and different to studying on another colleges is that you have a lot of chances to make friends from very different careers and ways of thinking that will widen your social perspective. I can assure that because I have Designer, Architect, Lawyer, Sociologist and Engineers form many specialities friends from which I have learned a lot of things not related to my speciality and whom they have taught me to see the things from very different perspectives.

As an interesting info is that because the social dynamics and ways of working on the UAM Azcapotzalco I have noticed that there are always students that change schools a little time after starting because they don’t get used to all of this. But you, what special thing can you tell me that makes different your school from the rest?

Comic Strips, a forgotten entertainment

With the difusion and popularization of entertainment media based on electronic platforms like TV, video games and web videos, a lot of the printed based entertainment media has been adapted to a digital format or has remained in a media and with a niche audience that is used to get printed publications, not only books, but comics, newspapers and magazines.

These publications are more familiar to an older audience because we grew used to read a lot of printed media, form books to magazines and comics and one of our usual habits for those who shared from kids reading newspapers with our parents, uncles or grandfathers was to  read many comic strips that were created only for that medium. Many titles are published depending on its frecuency and section of the newspaper they appear, the daily ones that usually appear beside the crossword that consisted of short black and white illustrated segments that had between 1 and 4 panels to tell a short story most of the times comical written in most of the cases specifically for the newspaper by local creators and the Sunday ones that appear on an extra suplement on the newspaper that is exclusive for longer color comic strips, most of these series made by foreign creators that were published a long time ago on foreign newspapers.

In fact currently they’re still published, both kinds of comic strips on newspapers, the ones that are published daily with new stories and series the renew constantly and the ones of the sundays are the most beloved by many kids having old imported series that are reprinted all the time, they aren’t much renewed. Between those Sunday comic strips there are published series  that as time passed they have become famous or at least are well beloved by adult people today, let’s see some of the best known comic strip series that have appeared on mexican newspapers on sundays.

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Trucutú (Alley Oop) by V.T. Hamlin

A comical series on prehistoric times where we follow the adventures of the protagonist caveman called Trucutu on the spanish version who will always help his village and its people giving clever ideas to the king and queen besides always trying to impress his girl. This comic strip displays a characters design that features characters with a rough look that like any typical caveman they carry a club and ride prehistoric animals having the protagonist a pet dinosaur.

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Pícaro el Gato (Heathcliff) by George Gateli

The fun adventures of the cat called Picaro in the spanish version that as any cat he’s capricious and lazy, but he always protects his masters, and old couple and their grandson. Besides he’s a cat that always gets what he wants from only playing pranks to someone to get something in particular in addition that he’s a cassanova with the female kitties and a bully that is constantly fighting with the neighbor dog. This comic strip has the curious detail that it always closses with a one panel final section called on spanish El Rincón del Gato (similar to its original name Kitty Korner) where we read funny features or details about some real cat.

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Dick Tracy by Chester Gould

A classic detectives’ series starring the detective Dick Tracy who’s always well dressed, with a tough face and equiped with his wrist radio he investigates and faces a peculiar cast of villains that have aliases acording to their exagerated physical features (mostly their faces), a story with a serious adventure style that included on an illustrated panel a safety tip to prevent any crime. And despite that there was a movie version of theseries featuring Madonna I think is best remembered by its classic comic strip.

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Garfield by Jim Davis

The famous comic strip that became an american pop culture icon after the eighties animated series and the collectible merchandising featuring him has continued its publication through many newspapers. For the people that aren’t familiarized with the series, these comic strips show the daily life of Garfield the cat who is the laziest, glutonous and more sarcastic and who most of the times takes advantage of it’s owner Jon and is always making fun of Odie the dog, always doing what he wants.

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Mafalda by Quino

Maybe the most successful latin american comic strip created by the argentinian creator Quino that sows us the daily life of the little girl called Mafalda who besides having the typical troubles of a kid sometimes she also makes a social and politics critic of its time (at the end of the sixties) because she’s a very smart and inquisitive character that usualy points out the unconfortable truth of the people and the institutions getting in troubles herself, her parents and friends because her comments and questions.

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El Principe Valiente (Prince Valiant) by Hal Foster

The epic story of young Valiant that joins King Arthur’s army and that little by little learns from his masters to raise positions as part of the higher ranked knights. Mixed up with his adventures we’ll see the plots and intrigues around King Arthur where Valiant stands out protecting his king getting him recognition in addition that we get to know the drama and problems of the more famous and important characters of that court. An adventure story with a serious tone that has a particular illustration style that evokes that romantic vision of the Middle Ages with its great castles, their regal rulers and their heroic battles. It even has two movie versions and there was also an early nineties animated series that made a good representation of the dramatic and epic story of Valiant and the people around him including King Arthur’s court.

For now these are the series that I remember reading the most on the sunday newspapers, but there still are many more comic strip series that are well known and were published in Mexico so I’m sure later I’ll make another article about these other series.

To close this I leave you the question, which newspaper published comic strip series do you know and are published where you live?

Sanrio, the creative merchandisers of the cute

Something that results difficult to create from the design and artistic perspective is a collection of characters that coming form a simple design could be pretty and attractive easily at first sight so that item can be the main thing that compels you as consumer to watch or get the item they offer you. It’s a goal that the promoters, marketers and designers constantly try to achieve but it’s difficult to acomplish because it requires some kind of sensitivity and skill to know how to create and apreciate something that for most of the people is nice and cute. And we can see the bad attempts everywhere like the many annoying or weird mascots that show many brands and products that demonstrate the lack of aesthetics sensibility of their creators or the people of the companies that decided how they should be.

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But a long history of success has been the japanese toy company Sanrio that has known to keep the right people with enough skill and sensitivity to create and illustrate their great quantity of cute and colorful characters with animal apearance that are nice and appealing wherever they appear being their most famous Hello Kitty of which there is a huge amount  of products with her image, there are some unexpected where we coldn’t imagine her as cute as she is featured.

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Besides, since they are characters created in Japan they also coudn’t skip the chance of taking advantage of two very important media there to feature and promote them, on video games and anime. In one case despite that the games based on Sanrio characters aren’t very famous or popular, partially because many of them are for kids, they end up being very good and fun games  that I’m sure are well sold. And on the other case the animated series both on Japan and overseas besides that they feature their character’s cuteness, they are very funny and amusing covering many kinds of audiences from only for kids to series that are fun for every audiences thanks to it’s simple stories with a well done comedy.

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On my experience of watching many Hello Kitty animated series and the Onegai My Melody anime series that despite its very tender and cute looks it has a story with a clever and sometimes irreverent comedy  that I recommend for any audiences, until now Sanrio haven’t disappointed me on anime.

My childhood toys (in Mexico)

On this christmas season to many of us it comes memories of toys we had as kids as christmas gifts or from the three wise men, which are the characters that kids in Latin Amrica are used to ask gifts with a letter on the night of January 5th instead of Santa Claus. And we get aware how the tchnology and communications media evolution besides the daily habits have changed a lot of the tastes and kind of toys that children today prefer. In addition with the globalization of many products like the toys now the ones that are predominant are created by the big brands, in Mexico’s case with brands from U.S.A., Spain and a few local.

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For me that was a kid mostly on the 80’s, I got to know some toys that now are considered classic and I got to know the beloved mexican toys company Lily Ledy, that dissapeared on the 90’s. Lily Ledy was an uncommon case because as many companies on the late 70’s it was rescued by the state being finced by them which allowed them to prosper even if they took risks with their products so the innovated with many of their own toys and many others that were adaptations of toys created in U.S.A. sometimes improving the original product.

I want to share you here just some of the toys that I remember the most from that time from between the great quantity of toys that there were and that I at tha time as the son of a moderately whealty family, I could have many of these toys.

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Fabuloso Fred I y II – It’s an adaptation and improvement from the Ensueño toys company of the toy known as Simon on U.S.A. that in this case it consisted on a board with 12 big colorful and iluminated buttons that have another switches or selection buttons to select different kinds of games because besides the classic memorization game it included at least another 7 to 11 additional games with those buttons like pressing as fast as possible the buttons as they lighted, hide and seek, where you tried to nail the place where the correct button was hidden and many others that I don’t remember very well.

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Idema – This Lego predecessor in Mexico brought from Spain consisted on plastic color and even trnslucent blocks that one could link together to build many things like houses, animals and vehicles. The pieces of this toy were smaller and harder than the Lego ones but also more breakable and in contrast of another similar toys it only had block shaped pieces very few round shaped and some small metal bars that were used as axles or shafts for rotatory objects like the arms of a windmil or the wheels of a car. Some other building toys of that time were Exin mostly of castles and Tente mostly with space vehicles both having bigger more varied and specific pieces.

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Playmobil – The small action figures brought from Germany and famous mostly on Europe had the distinction of having the same body with the same kind of face only with variations on the hair and with limited articulations that only allowed them raise or lower their arms, turn their heads and stand, bow or sit down. But the main feature were the accessories, animals, furniture, vehicles and buildings that came with them which were very colorful and very curious receating some themes like cops, firemen, doctors, pirates, knights, cowboys, astronauts, etcetera, being the cars, trucks and space ships my favorite.

These are some of the toys that I immediately remember from the 80’s and that I had, I’m sure that in future publictions I’ll keep telling you about more toys that I had or knew with friends, cousins or on the toy stores that were in exhibition.

What toys do you remember form your childhood?, which ones were your favorite and which ones were the most popular in the place where you grew?

My old pasion for Tiny Toon Adventures

I’m sure most of you that have watched the early 90’s TV series will remember the Tiny Toon Adventures series that would somewhat be the evolution of the classic Looney Tunes of Warner Bros. and you also could remember ots launch and its episodes and stories that were very identified with the style, animation and themes of that time.

Despite that it had some months to be broadcasted on U.S.A. and cable networks in Mexico (at that time many of those channels were on english without translation) its premiere was acompanied by a big commercial campaign because besides being broadcast on Canal 5 of Televisa (one of the biggest TV networks on Latin America) it was lauched a promotion of the snack food Sabritas (of Pepsico) with stamps and the famous glasses that changed of color with cold water. And even if the first episode to be transmitted was probably one of the worst on the series. the quality of the animation of most of the episodes, its very funny stories with a very creative comedy and nice character designs captivated and turned me into a apassionate fan of the series during some time as a teenager.

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Since then besides recording all the episodes transmitted on TV on VHS tapes, I acumulated a great collection of Tiny Toon merchandising, from the simple collectible stamps, the album from Panini and the glasses that I mentioned to the stuffed doll of Hamton, the games for NES, SNES and GameBoy and I even learned to draw the characters creating my own posters for my bedroom.

Besides one of the things that made me more passionate for the series was the charcter designs, specially of Babs Bunny (known as Babsy on Latin America) of which I was a huge fan similar to how the bronies are fans of each character of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. In fact I was excited every time there was an episode featuring her, even more when some of the stories followed the characters like teenagers facing with romantic and school situations, which happens to be a theme that I always like when it’s well done.

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More rcently with the availability of information online now I know that Tiny Toon Adventures was an experimental animated series at some degree for its kind of comedy, stories and themes that were touched that sometimes could be more suitable for kids and sometimes for a teen audience. And its animation was a work that was comissioned to many different studios for each episode, which explains the great variations on the quality of the animation, the drawings and illustrations and the kind of stories with each episode. The studios that participated on different episodes were Wang Film Productions, AKOM, Freelance Animators New Zealand, Encore Cartoons, Star Toons and as special mentions Kennedy Cartoons because it was the studio that made the worst episodes and Tokyo Movie Shinsha (currently TMS Entertainment) that besides making the opening animation they made the best episodes with a superior animation quality, TMS indeed made were the ones that made the animation for the first movie, Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacations.

Making a break on TMS Entertainment they are an old and productive japanese animation studio that is internationally very well known because they have participated to create some of the best remembered series on international animation like Thundercats and Silverhawks besides that they also have a great collection of anime series that at least they are remembered for the quality of its animation like Magic Knight Rayearth. Versailles no Bara and Meitantei Conan. So if you see their name on any animated series at least you can expect and very well done animation.

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As time passed by I recognized my fandom mostly for anime and was letting go my fandom for Tiny Toon giving or throwing away most of the merchandise that I collected, but I hadn’t fogotten how I like the series and its characters and even if I currently am not following it so much, every time that comes up something related to it I’m interested and watching or trying it. I’d even support the creation of a new season of the series with its respective updates. And if you ask me for any data or info about Tiny Toon, you can be sure I can give you an informed answer.

My nerd fandom for transports

A hobby that I don’t talk much about with anyone because is a uninteresting theme and could be boring for most of the people it’s about the passenger transports that was a topic in what I was fascinated since I was a child because all the work, organization and infrastructure that works in an extraordinary way despite its common problems and the confort and convenience that give to the people of differente places.

Lástima, tan bonito y tan mlleno de fallas por tanta corrupción.

It’s a shame, so nice and so full of failures because of so much corruption.

And I living at such a huge city as Mexico City in Distrito Federal in particular, I’m interested on the more massive and more organized transports like the Metro, Metrobus, Tren Ligero (Light Train), Tren Suburbano (Suburban Train) and the vehicles that run on the streets that are directed by the state like Trolebuses and the RTP buses that replaced the beloved Ruta 100 buses.

Thanks to this hobby I enjoy in a special and different way, unlike most of the people, the travel experience on this public transports paying attention to how they work and how they are organized and always apreciating the details that have the different vehicles an the facilities related to them. For example, I always enjoy walking the different stations of the Metro and travel on the different train models and it’s always exciting to see something new when it’s added even better if it’s a new kind of vehicle. I’m also fan of watching online videos about the different kinds of urban transportations that there are, its story and how is the experience of traveling in them, sometimes I even research about the new projects and new technologies. I’m even suscribed to the DocksTMC channel and I used to be interested on the channel Rockotla01 that unfortunately it hasn’t improved its contents.

El transporte peor diseñado de la ciudad pero al menos adecuado.

The worst designed transport on the citybut at least it works.

Something that I’m also fascinated to see is the places that they travel and connect and I imagine how the people of different places move around to get to some other place. And as an Electronics Engineer by the way I have some knowledge about the technology it’s used and why the things and the transports are designed and organized on different ways and I even understand the different problems that each one have to face.

 

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As an xtension of this somethimes I also enjoy playing video games that features in asignificant way some transport like the simulators and even some less serious like Crazy Taxi and by the way I plan to play soon Densha de Go!, a japanese passengers electric trains simulator that puts you at the control and show you in a funny way the consequences of how you drive mainly on that country where the transport usually runs on strict schedules as it’s common on the big train lines around the world.

Is anyone of you interested on transports? Which other hobby or pastime do you have that few people share?

 

Manga published in Mexico

Something that I like about me belonging to my generation whom were a teenagers on the 90’s is that as fans of manga anad anime we lived the born and growth of the fan community and the start of the first companies that were specialized on the entertainment imported from Japan. And in the specific case of Mexico, also at that time it was when it happened the best and greatest anime and manga boom on many mainstream media, besides that it was when we had to listen the best dubbing works on anime series in Latin America.

On the manga side maybe on the 80’s there wer very unknown stores on the mexican japanese community that once in a while brought  some manga directly form Japan besides the few manga related publications from U.S.A. that sometimes were imported. But at the beginning of the 90’s with the economy growth many small businesses expanded a lot, including the recent imported comics stores that turned from being selling spots on non regulated markets to full fledged stores with regular imports like Comicastle and Comics S.A.. And thanks to the unexpected popularization of comics among the common people with the 1989 Batman movie and the Death of Superman mores stores were created, that besides comics, they imported as a side merchandise the first english translated anime series on VHS and the first english translated manga like the ones from Viz Comics and Dark Horse. Add to that the massification of public internet that allowed us to see on the first web pages more information of animated series that we knew on the 80’s and that since then we knew they were anime, looking out then for more series and more recent.

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With the organization of the first comics and later anime conventions on Mexico, there were groups interested on creating publications about anime and manga coming from the fans the fanzines and with some specialized stores, the importation of manga and anime magazines that were already being published in Spain. On the mexican publishers side the only one specialized in translating and publishing imported comics then was Editorial Vid that was already succeeding thanks to the popularity of Marvel and D.C. comics, and thanks to the growing interest on the creations coming from Japan with series like Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball, that company started to publish manga and it was created Editorial Toukan that was specialized on publishing manga and another anime related magazines. That’s how we got on Mexico the first locally spanish translated manga, on Vid’s side their first manga were the ones created by Masakazu Katsura, Video Girl Ai and D.N.A.2 besides their own version of Mixx Zine of the new publisher TokyoPop on the U.S. and on Toukan’s side we could see the first Ranma 1/2 chapters and magazines based on Sailor Moon.

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As time passed Toukan beacause the restrictions and unfair conditions the publishing market in Mexico it had to stop publishing all its manga and anime material having as the last publications the first volumes of One Piece. Vid as the predominant comic’s publisher on the market it expanded in such excesive way its manga series catalog that they started to lose their rights on the comics from U.S.A. and covered more than they could launching a lot of manga series that were destined to fail because the lack of readers that were interested in buying them, even less at such a price tag becoming the fall and closing of the publisher and its stores.

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Currently I have been out of touch of the manga market on Mexico but according to information from friends that are fans mostly of comics I know that there are foreign publishers with mexican branches, new publishers and old publishers that now fill the still limited niche market of printed comics and manga. The publisher that piques my attention because it has launched many good and popular manga series on tankubon or graphic novel format is Editorial Panini that it has been publishing also for some time american and european comics and that it may be one of the companies that could stay for a long time on the market.

How about you?. what experiences can you share about your buys of manga and comics at your country, town or city?.

Koko wa Greenwood, a great short OVA for this end of year

In long running series it’s common to have special episodes thata happen on christmas and new year, sometimes having only filler episodes y other times episodes in which something very important  happens and even is where some series close.

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With the series that I recommend you this time, Koko wa Greenwood also known as Here is Greenwood, it’s a very short OVA series that has only 6 episodes where we follow Kazuya Hasukawa’s life who live a great frustration when his older brother marries with the woman he’s in love and she moves to his house. To get away from this situation he decides to move to the dorm in his high school being assigned to the one that is known as Greenwood which is famous for hosting the weirdest and maginal characters in the school. This is how Kazuya being the more normal guy has to deal with his roomates ocurrences who go from the sarcastic, passing through the cassanova and sharing room with the androgynous who really looks like a woman. And even when the protagonist ends up being the unluckiest on the place he’ll be one that gains more the apreciation of everyone sharing with them the problems of each one of them and the funny adventures that they live on their school with each idea they have having some of the more memorable and maybe dramatic moments in an end of year.

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Besides the recommendationg goes twice since it’s a series to which one apreciates very fast because it integrates in a very funny and memorable way the comedy, the drama and the very peculiar characters considering that the bad side of theis series it’s it short length leaving you with the expectation of more of the story, And because the series is old and short it’s a forgotten treasure between the anime series that deserves to be rescued and I wish that someday someone remembers it and revives it in a  longer running remake.

Junichi Sato, the underrated anime creator

It’s common on the anime and manga media that are less recognized the people that direct series in comparison to those that only make movies or write stories and even less recognized if they participate in genres that are perceived as less relevant.

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This is the situation with Junichi Sato, a creator that started his career on the anime industry since the eighties but since the beginning he took part in many beloved anime series but it wasn’t until he began to direct when he became more notorius. The series that he directed and with which he became famous was Sailor Moon that when integrating very well an romantic and heroic story with comedy moments and well developed and nice characters it coul achive world success creating an iconic series that promoted anime and the magical girls genre everywhere.

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In consequence of this great success he had the posibility of taking part on more series and even create his own returning often to make magical girl series thanks to his reputation. The series in which he has been instead of showing epic and very dramatic stories they are adventures in lighter and and more human tone that instead of presenting passionate matches between antagonists he presents the drama and reality of each character and how they evolve reaching an understanding of their circumstances solving their conflicts in a less violent way.

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To recall some of the more improtant series that he has created we can mention Ojamajo Doremi, Mahou Tsukai Tai!, Strange Dawn, Princess Tutu, Kaleido Star, Keroro Gunso, Fushigi-boshi no Futago-hime, Aria, Sketchbook ~full Color’s~ and Tamayura. As you may note these series have in common that they leave a subtle and depp impression staying as memorable and beloved series.

Example games of the weird japanese humor

There’s no doubt that despite there’s comedy that’s funny anywhere in the world, there’s always some styles and kinds of comedy that are more targeted and understood by local audiences of many regions. In the case of the japanese comedy it tends to be very weird for many countries recurring to the extravagance, idiosyncrasy and language so when it’s one of the main feature in a game, those titles are Japan exclusives or completely redone to be more understandable for a wider audience. Then it’s very uncommon that we find games that show us that humor so here I show you two titles that once  I got the casualty to know and can be fun despite it’s weirdness.

Panic!/Switch!

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An adventure point and click game released for the Sega CD/Mega CD where we follow the starnge adventure of a kid in a twisted world by a computer virus that has the ridiculous effect of changing the function of the switches everywhere. Then this child sometimes accompanied by his dog when sucked by his video game console hi has to push buttons to find the ones that send him to another places to reach the main computer. The weir and funny about this game is that besides that you travel to many strange places you’ll find many switches that will have weird effects on the things and places where you are like turning on a vaccum cleaner that eats the background, turning a device in a creature or watching a funny sequence or commentary. This game uses simple situational humor and sexual and scatological humor so be prepared to watch every kind of weird situations, besides that strangely many sound effects are made by the voice of someone.

Bishi Bashi

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A game saga that presents a multiplayer mini games collection for up to 6 players on arcade versions to 8 players on PlayStation inb which you’ll have to compete in tasks from common to ridiculous with images culturally very japanese. This is a party game very recommendable because in addition to being very funny the player’s interactions and reactions, with the mini games it also will be funny when watching any kinds of situations in that each mini game puts you. Most of the mini games are about pressing frantically the buttons with crazy variations  like wedding cake throw, follow the rhythm with bites or hide from a shooter. With the graphics that I mentioned in the game, on the beggining they’ll be weird and even disturbing but as you’ll get used to them you’ll find the funny features.

Epic Fantasies in Anime

Because of how complex the epic stories are it’s hard to find series in this style and even less that are really good because many times they overdo it having a very pretentious tone or making them too complex and hard to watch. Fortunately I’ll recommend you two series that have all in its stories in just measure balancing these stories between personal and epic developing a fantastic world, very fascinating and complete. These two series are Berserk and Juni Kokki which despite telling stories with different goals they share a memorable story and characters developed in detail.

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Berserk

A series that follows the life of protagonist Guts or Gatz in world very similar to medieval Europe in which there were constantly wars between kingdoms for power, lands and religion appearing even a religious group similar to the Catholic Church. Along this story we watch the very unfortunate life of the protagonist learning to survive to wars since he was little becoming very skillful with the giant sword and because of this he’ll lead a very lonely life most of the time. But as he matures he meets people whom he’ll cherish and protect making himself a legend when he becomes involved not only in battles that will change the nations but also the perception of reality between the people. The fantasy feature shows up little by little when he’s involved in incidents and fights with with supernatural creatures, mostly very powerful demons and ghosts being him the only human capable of facing them when he becomes more powerful and skillful. The only bad thing about this series it’s that it has been animated only twice, in a TV series and movies, telling in both of them the same segment of the story in which he meets Griffith, a character that will be very important for him, so the rest of the long story it’s only available in a manga that’s still running.

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Juni Kokki (The Twelve Kingdoms)

This series start in a very generic way following the story of Yoko Nakajima, a high school student, that leads a depressing life being the target of bullying of her classmates and underestimated by her parents and together with her classmates Ikuya Asano and Yuka Sugimoto are taken to a strange world by Keiki. This new world is similar to feudal China in which there are twelve kingdoms created by sacred beings that among them there are born creatures that can take human form which mission will be to find their master for liife wich inmediately will become the governor of his or her kingdom when found and to which they will serve and guide to become a good ruler. Keiki is one of thos creatures that visited our world in search of his master which is Yoko, turning her into the new queen, but after being transported they are separated when they were attacked by evil creatures so her, her friend’s and her kingdom’s destiny is uncertain in addition that they’ll have to learn by themselves how it is and works that world. This story is vary complex but very well written where practically each character, as small as he or she is , will have an important role in the story. This series despite being long it isn’t able to cover everything that we want to see being based on a novel with a well writter mythology in which the supernatural creatures play a role in how the world works and not only covers Yoko’s story but the story of the persons from our world that have been there.

Both stories despite being full of info they are very interesting and fun mantaining the interest in what each character lives and their worlds, which I consider that have a status above of any other series thinking of them as outstanding.

Short Mario Kart Retrospective

On videogame’s history there have been always ther the racing games but most of them normally reproduce the many car competition formats having a realistic base. With Super Mario Kart’s launch for SNES this one broke the formula of making racing games creating its on kart racing games genre where the most distinctive feature it’s the fantasy on the races and where combat is added. This formula was so successful that Mario Kart became  a game series that’s always on the preference of gamers. having one title for each Nintendo’s console generation. Next I will mention some of the titles that I have known and played.

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Super Mario Kart (SNES)

The original that started the saga, it takes advantage of the console Mode 7 whith which it reproduces a pseudo 3D when driving your kart from the character’s perspective wile the track rotates as you turn your vehicle. Introducing also the choice of playing with the most popular and known and known Mario characters and the use of many that saga’s items as weapons or tools to help you. We mast remember that this game besides having the battle mode it also uses the clssic coins that you can pick to increase your kart’s speed.

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Mario Kart 64 (N64)

Being the logic step in the evolution of this game, this is the first in 3D adding the very fun feature of 4 players game (but without CPU controlled racers) in split screen thanks to the 4 controller ports included on the console. This game takes away the coins from the original and increases the variety and power of the combat items like the multiple shells and the infamous blue shell. On the original game there were shortcuts in this one are more predominant in addition to the tracks that unintentionally give the opportunity of player’s made up shortcuts that sometimes gives an excessive handicap to the ones that know them.

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Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA)

The first portable version of this game that many of us were waiting and because of the console hardware’s limitations returns many of the features of the first game and fixes some mistakes of the second. In this game the coins are back, the number of players increases and the best of this one, it has a good variety of tracks. The tracks in addition to be as long as the ones on the N64 they show a good variety of stages and is the first one to include tracks of previous games, in this case, the ones from SNES including mirror mode. And as is common on Mario Kart games this includes the multiplayer option using another console and the link cable.

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Mario Kart Double Dash! (GC)

A game that includes some innovations on the game improving the formula of the Mario Kart 3D versions making the obvious graphical evolution and including more characters that have appeared on the many Mario games until then. The first change is the feature of choosing your vehicle depending only on the size of your character having with this at your disposal besides the regular kart another cars giving you more speed, acceleration or offroad attributes. Another great feature is the double game mode in which two characters ride one car being able to exchange the one that drives and the one that throws the items carrying each one a different item giving you the possibilty of some strategy. An extra detail is that there is the possibility of stealing the rival’s items when bumping them with a mushroom or a star.

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Mario Kart DS (NDS)

The second game for portable consoles now on 3D graphics  format, it adds many of the improvements of the Mario Kart games so far adding some new items and keeping the tradition of including tracks from previous games and mirror. The only advantage of using two screens is that now the screen where your current race is displayed is more clear showing more info on the other screen like your position on a map of the track always available. The best innovation of this version is the use of the console’s WiFi connection for the multiplayer mode and to play online against another players around the world. a well received option by the players.

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Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

This version on the saga besides extending a lot the variety of characters it also increases the number of rivals on the race having up to 12 at the same time even on the 4 players multiplayer mode. Another feature added with the selection of cars to choose now there are motorcycles that will allow you to accelerate faster and have a better handling than with a 4-wheeled vehicle. Besides is very important to mention that with the change of use of the Wii controllers  now in addition to being able to play in the classic mode with the analog stick we can play on steering mode turning around the remote control itself including the steering wheel accessory in which it can be mounted. All of this not forgetting to mention the quantity of extras such as the stunts and options in which you can set the game mode in many ways in addition of using the online game for up to 2 players.

Only to mention them, until the publishing of this article there are another two games that I hadn’t known which are many Mario Kart Arcade GP games for arcade, Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS and soon to be released Mario Kart 8 for Wii U in which it uses features from Super Mario Galaxy having unconventional tracks running even upside down.

Without a doubt a saga of games that have made history and have been very influential promoting the creation of similar or equivalent  games of many other companies and for another consoles.

Some Tiny Toon Adventures Games

When it was just broadcasted the Tiny Toon Adventures TV series I became a fan, collecting a lot of merchandise in addition to watching each episode with no miss, so since I was a long time gamer it was expected that I bought many of the games available that came out then. The good part was discovering that they were very good and fun games and even more when they were made by Konami, which most of their games were fun.

My first game I got were for the NES platform having two titles, Tiny Toon Adventures 1 and 2.

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Tiny Toon Adventures is a platform game in which the goal is to rescue Babs Bunny from Montana Max traveling through the different zones in Acme Acres. The main character is Buster Bunny but with each stage you can choose a partner with you can switch with a special item, having as options , Plucky which can float on the air, Furball which can grapple for a short time on the walls and Dizzy which can use for short times his tornado. The game has very responsive controls with its diferences in each character having a good difficulty level and being long enough, appearing most of the best known characters which are well drawn despite the hardware limitations.

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Tiny Toon Adventures 2 Trouble in Wackyland is a non linear game which objective is to complete the attractions of Montana Max’s theme park who put traps in each one. So when going into an attraction you need to pay an amount of tickets that will increase as you beat each one. In each attraction you play with a different character, with Hamton you ride the train in that you have to avoid obstacles while it runs and you reach the locomotive car, with Furball you travel on the water on a log avoiding the hazards as you reach the end, with Babs you ride a rollercoaster trying to stay on the car in its trippy ride, with Plucky you ride a bumper car getting rid of the enemies in each track and at the end with Buster you go inside the castle full of traps to defeat Max. The game has a different format that will feel like a strange change compared to the one before being more difficult but it’s still fun.

A little after, when having my Super Nintendo I also got the games Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose and Tiny Toon Wacky Sports Challenge.

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Tiny Toon Adventures Buster Busts Loose it’s an improvement not only graphical of the first platform game, it also added a variety in the game modes in each stage besides the addition of minigames between each stage. What piqued my attention of this game is that reproduces very well the TV series format presenting each stage as if they were episodes with it’s respective introductions with comical details adding more dialogues between the characters. In this case on the game instead of beating the enemies jumping over them you have at you the skill of some kind of kick that makes after making a somersault in addition of having the option of jumping and a button to dash. This dash lasts as you power gauge runs out that refills automatically when not dashing or when picking a special item. This game offers limited continues when losing and it has the password option besides having the choice of setting the difficulty. Along the stages there will be useful items, sometimes hidden, that will increase or fill up the energy slots and even earn an extra life. Each stage has a theme  that will make you do different things when interacting with the environment adding more fun to an already fun game  not forgetting the mini games that between the stages will give you in a fun way extra lives.

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Tiny Toon Wacky Sports Challenge it’s a variation on the games of this series in which the characters this time compete in wacky sports events to win the great prize that will allow them achieve their dreams. In this game the characters that you can choose to compete are Buster and Babs Bunny (no relation), Plucky and Dizzy having the game the characteristic of being able to play with 4 players simultaneous using a multitap. The game modes are divided in courses that rise the difficulty adding each time more quantity more difficult events unlocking each time new courses when getting the passwords at the end of each course having at the last course the password for the free mode in which the events can be played freely. The events are very varied, some their own versions of sports like ski or pole vault jump and anothers are made up like ice cream throw or bungee jump having all of them a wacky and fun twist like unexpected obstacles and funny results when playing each event.

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As a special mention, I also had one of the three game for Game Boy, Tiny Toon Adventures Babs’ Big Break which is a good platform game with nice graphics. The game format is different to the other ones in which besides having the option to change between characters  anytime between Buster, Plucky and Hamton the other characters appear to help you on different places. Very fun and recomended to compliment your experience with the Tiny Toon games.

Two Unknown and Underrated Series

I’m pretty sure that most of anime fans at one moment have discovered some anime series which was unknown and was very enjoyable so it can be shared with everyone else. This is my situation with two of the series I’m going to show you, Android Ana Maico 2010 and Strange Dawn.

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Maico 2010 or in its complete name, Android Ana Maico 2010, it’s a very uncommon series telling us a story in which on the actual reality is introduced the first robot with enough inteligence to be the first autonomous radio announcer. With this as the main idea we follow the story, drama and some funny situations between the staff members on the radio station in which Maico is tested. Something different about this series is that the whole series runs only on the radio studio knowing the character’s stories and outer happenings by the staff conversations as Maico which is confined to that place. One of the main themes on the story is about the acceptance of the android Maico as a capable and self-sufficient staff member on the station questioning her capability to conduct a radio show by herself, and around this theme we know the conflicts and aspirations  of the staff members questioning many times their stay as a united group that is able to sustain the station and their own radio show. Despite these adverse situations we get to like each character for who they are enjoying in a funny way their complexes and singularities provoking situations sometimes ironic, ridiculous and sometimes tense. And to make it even more different, this series has 24 episodes that last 15 minutes that you’ll feel they are too short.

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The Strange Dawn series as its title describes how the story starts  when happening a very strange happening to the two classmates of the same high school, Eri and Yuko, that on their way to school they’re sent to a strange workd where its inhabitants are very small that look like characters from a tale. In this world they are seen according to their legends as the holy defenders and saviors of the world that will end all the wars that are constantly waged between the different nations that look to conquer and extend their lands. But they question this role that they give them showing the inhabitants that they’re only common girls that besides their size they can’t make much for the people in war situations. This series, despite its innocent image and a somewhat generic story beginning it tells a very complex story where many character’s motivations, ambitions and fears and war consequences clash. In addition because their very different personalities, Eri and Yuko many times argue when deciding what to do, be it to go back to our world or to help the people in need, standing in one side Yuko in a realistic attitude not wanting to get involved in someone else’s war and on the other side Eri taking care of everyone else getting involved on a very personal level on the troubles of some inhabitants. A series that starts from the personal evolving to the epic without losing the personal drama the protagonists. very memorable, that will keep you interested and worried about each character being all of them important to the whole story.

Two Important and Must-Be-Watched Anime Series

I’m sure many of you have that anime series that is fond to you and which you always come back to watch when you want to watch something interesting, fun and memorable. In the case of the two series I’m about to mention have the distinction of being two of the more admired between the anime fans on anime’s history.

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The first one I want to recommend you is Versailles no Bara which is translated as The Rose of Versailles and is also known by the arternative name of Lady Oscar. This 40 episode series has a dramatic and epic story in which we follow the story of a woman called Oscar who gets that name because of her father’s wish to have a boy that continues with the family’s tradition of becoming a royal guard in France before the revolution. With this introduction we watch a great story in which we watch the troubles that Oscar and her beloved and admired people face, many dramatic situations when fullfiling Oscar with her duty as a royal guard or doing what is right and honest for the people, besides, she can’t do some things as a woman that she wishes. And to add more interest on the story all of this is mixed with the political deceptions and conflicts in which Oscar gets involved due to her close relation with the royal family and more when these are the times before the French Revolution having a fiction story parallel to the historic happenings. In addition to all that I described the illustration style of it’s time it’s very fitting with the story, being relevant the role of the director Osamu Dezaki creating his distinctive sequences of dramatic illustrations where the color, expressions and background play an important part in the emotion of many moments.

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The second series I recommend you is Akage no Anne a series based on the canadian novel called Anne of Green Gables. This is a series placed on the begginings of the 20th century that tells the story of the red haired girl Anne Shirley who got orphan very little having a very tough life going from one home to another until by mistake she’s sent to live with the old Cuthberts that live on the country in Canada. A story with a very good drama development in which we get to know the unique personality of Anne who is very smart, imaginative and very emotional getting in trouble sometimes because she tells many times with honesty what she feels or thinks. So as the story goes on and the characters grow older we get to appreciate each of them like the Cuthberts, Mathew the shy and nice old man that always spoils and loves deeply Anne since the first day he met her and  Marilla who is pratical and strict but just and nice being Anne’s guide as she grows, and Anne is a girl that will become a woman that we’ll love and esteem for what she is and has lived. This is a series That will move us from the beginning to end leaving the characters a very emotive impression. This series belong to the World Masterpiece Theater collection which are anime series based on classic literature from which have come many memorable series that are very recommendable.

5 Forgotten Fighting Games

Now between the videos I’ve watched of some of my favorite retro games, I recalled some of the fighting games that I enjoyed and have been lost on the memory, when there was the boom of these in the nineties, and being memorable many that were made for Neo-Geo. Here are some to refresh our memory.

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World Heroes

A with many early games that became influenced by the Street Fighter II success, this game reproduced many things from that game, like the fighting styles and skills of the fighters. But it has more polished graphics and and very silly story to justify this tournament of fighters that came from different times and places. Although this game gave us some original ideas like the Death Match mode in which the fighting area limits have traps, and the fact that you can counter the grabs. In this game my favourite fighter was Janne, based on Joan of Arc.

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Power Instinct (Goketsuji Ichizoku)

The contribution of Atlus to the fighting genre, a game franchise that was slow in evolve and refine with each sequel changing it’s name to Groove On and Matrimelee. The most important in these games is the variety of characters, very diverging having some very strange ranging from the magical girl with her magic wand and transformation to the old matriarch which has grotesque attacks like appearing a giant head and throwing her fake teeth. And it’s even weirder the fact that all of them are part of a tournament to decide the leader of a ninja clan. My favorite fighter in this game was Annie Hamilton including her rainbow attack.

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Kabuki Klash: Far East of Eden

A derivative game from an RPG saga, very colorful, with very distinctive characters combining a very attractive and funny design. Besides the characters this game presented the detail of adding random items that were thrown into the fighting area affecting the characters the characters making them weaker or stronger, and somo others that were obstacles. The theme of this game is of a fictional feudal Japan  but with classic RPG elements  where the characters fight with weapons or magic according to their job. It also displays anime styled designs that tend to like the one in shounen series with heroic and funny characters and some attractive girls. In this game my two favorite fighters are Yagumo and Tsunade being the sexy girl and funny little girl.

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V.G. (Variable Geo)

An old fighting games saga that was available in many platforms, from consoles to PC. These games are distinctive in making the most importan part of the the fanservice presenting a tournament between waitresses in which the winner will have her own restaurant. And having the fanservice as the main point in these games we have a female only cast of characters covering a good range of characters from the well endowed women to the cute little girl. And with this variety of characters we also have very different powers and skills that can be powerful and impressive or funny and ridiculous. I warn you that in the case of many PC versions of these games they have a very explicit sexual content only for adults. And by her more offensive fighting style my favorite fighter in this game is Yuka Takeuchi.

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Martial Champion

The only entry from Konami on arcades in this genre introducing a more basic version of the fighting platform when having only three buttons on the control and a very limited move selection in each character. Something that stands out in this game are the characters which have very big sprites (animated pictures on the game), well designed despite having weird design choices on these tending to be different nationalities’ stereotypes. And I warn you that in addition to some characters having very weird attack moves the difficulty is very high so you’ll end up very fast facing very difficult to win fights. With the weirdness of the characters in this game obviously my favorite character is Racheal.

This is a very condensed list so I’m sure that I didn’t mention many other games that are worth playing, but I believe that these are worth enough to at least test play them.

Macabre Series with Pretty Girls

After watching a very shounen (for young male audience) and another somewhat generic short series, it was time for a change in the series kind. This change on the series it’s now with one that I already knew but I haven’t watched complete, Jigoku Shoujo also known as Hell Girl when translating it.

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Enma Ai and her helpers.

This series tells the story of a girl that lives between the spirit and human world which her mission is to take revenge over the persons it’s asked in her mysterious website that’s only found on midnight. This revenge is made when sending to hell the person they wish in exchange to that the one who asked it will have to go to hell too when he or she dies having as a mark of their contract a round tatoo on the chest. The protagonist and axecutor of this punishment is the girl Enma Ai who is recognized as the “Jigoku Shoujo” who is acompanied bya another three persons  that help her in her duty when getting close and investigate the persons involved in these revenges.

In the beggining, each episode shows different cases in which one or more people are victims of the abuse, damage and humilation from someone in particular developing the situations until the final point in which each person that is victim, is forced to ask this revenge. And it’s this way that we get to know that despite of how sinister and ruthless this revenges are the Jigoku Shoujo has some principles to make these punishments preventing no to serve those who don’t really need her. Further on the series we meet a writer and his daughter which they’ll find out Enma Ai’s origins developing an unintended link with her.

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These series has the extra feature of a very aestetic and attractive female character’s design that doesn’t get in the way or demerits the macabre aspect of the story, instead it becomes in a sinister beauty that can be seen as fascinating and haunting, Three seasons of this series are are available and I don’t know the story of the later two so I have high expectations of these. This eries is very recommended, more if you want something a little different from what’s common on most anime with a very wel told story that will keep you interested  in each thing it happens to each character mantaining that dark and tragic sense.

Digging the Gold on the Mud of Internet

The web is very valuable space to find any kind of contents and information but only if you’re experienced and have some knowledge in how the information is classified, sorted and hidden on it you’ll get a lot of garbage in all those contents.

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Fortunately there are some creative and enthusiast people that is devoted to get some of the most interesting, fun, amazing and curious contents around the web, from science to trivial facts. Those people are the creators and administrators of the great YouTube channel Vsauce that was founded by Michael Stevens and his collaborators on 2007 and it has been growing very quick in content, diversity and quality. Now it’s not only their original Vsauce channel but they also have expanded to Vsauce2 and Vsauce3 each with their own contents ranging many areas of knowledge and contents that have thir own series of videos like FAK, DONG, etc. And in addition to all this huge ammount of contents they are open to creations and contents from the people that are willing to share having thir own series of videos and even a dedicated channel that was created last year, WEsauce , promoting creativity of the people around the world.

A great recommendation that won’t stop to surprise, amaze, interest and entertain you in many many ways independently if what you like is arts, science, geek contents or just random contents.

Anime Formatted Game and Magical Comedy

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Recently, when searching for good music between many games that I’ve known I recalled one of which has an anime like opening, with a good J-Pop song sung by Masami Okui. That game is Eretzvaju known outside Japan as Evil Zone, a simple 3D fighting game that has the distinction of showing in the Story Mode each match like they were episodes from an anime series with every detail like its own eyecatch and the preview of the next episode. The game has a very simple control with 3 butons having the SNK game style. Unfortunately only the japanese version of the game keeps the original opening song called “Kiss in the Night” having it replaced by a generic music on the other versions.

A few days ago between the possible magical girl series that I watched and checked I had the pleasure to watch the short three OVA series Detatoko Princess. This series can be summed up as the misadventures of the princess Lapis (derived from the lapislazuli stone) who is a selfish but good willed that uses dangerously her great magic Erase that nillifies and destroys any other magic. A Lot of people is right in compering it to Slayers having the same kind of humor managing as good every kind of characters that each one has an absurd and ridiculous side. A very good recommendation that I think it was too short since I wanted to watch more of that absurd comedy. And I want to highlight that I liked the character design being attractive and nice and at the same time different to that of the other series at the time.

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A Fun Pharmacy, a Furry RPG and Filling

Currently as part of the creation process of the new Magical Girl Anime History video I’ve watched in detail many series, some that I watched some time ago and I didn’t remember well and another ones that I’m just getting to know finding a very fun series that got my attention.

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The series that I mention is Fushigi Mahou Fun Fun Pharmacy, a series based on a novel for children wher we follow the story of the little girl Potpurri who is a very fun character since it’s very natural her curiosity and amazement for many things around showing very clear her emotions. Potpurri has just moved to the neighborhood so she goes to know the surroundings and in particular the near commercial district excited to know everything for the first time, so she ends up discovering the Fun Fun Pharmacy. But by accident she discovers that the owner, Miss Fukiko, it’s a witch that when using magic she can make very effective potions. Excited about this Potpurri begs her to teach her how to become a witch starting this way the story with the adventures she lives each day when discovering and learning many things about magic. Something interesting about this series  is how the magic is more related with nature when showing supernatural creatures and beings that each one is some part of the nature expressions like the Spirit of Spring  or the elemental beings that Potpurri invokes by using her magic vial. This is a light series that lets you feel that fascination for discovering new things each day that surely will leave you with a smile at the end of each episode, in fact I’m impatient to watch more about this series that it’s being translated as I publish this article.

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A discovery by some YouTube video was the game Dusk: An Elysian Tail of the action RPG genre that I’ve been playing it on my PC since then. This game has the distinction of having cartoon styled graphics with antropomorphic characters (human looking animals) in all the game that can be attractive to the furries fans like the characters in Sonic Adventure. The gameplay is simple and a little frenetic when only needing to make quick hit sequences during the battles. The RPG elements are mixed when following the story of the main character Dust, who has lost his memory and acompanied by a magic sword and some kind of fairy that helps you you will be recovering your memories playing an important role on many persons destinies, besides, as expected, the typicas equipment improvements and experience levels are shown. It isn’t an extraordinaire game but it’s something uncommon the use of this kind of characters with an interesting enough story.

Two good examples of series full of fillers that they seem like they’re hollow.

And for closure is good to mention how common is when watching long enough (100+ episodes) and sometimes shorter anime series the addition of what we anime fans know well as filler episodes. These filler episodes tend to be episodes that don’t contribute to advance the story when showing us stories where they remember things that happened before on the series or where they tell altenate or side stories that doesn’t contribute in anything how the stry goes on getting away from the original story lowering the quality of the story and animation. These epiosdes are added to extend the series when they are successful and to make a pause on the animation production whether being beacause the animators are given free time or when reaching current episodes on the manga. But there’s no doubt that they will always be something hated by the audience when leaving in pause a story and leaving yu a bad time after watching them. By the way, I mention this topic now because I have to endure many of these episodes on the MÄR series.

Comedy About Anime and Less Frivolous Girls’ Series

Surely you had noticed that from a long time ago one of my anime info and news sources most reliable is Anime News Network the website created by the editors of the old anime magazine Protoculture Addicts. Recently I haven’t been up to date of their columns and articles as I used to but a section that I always like and that doesn’t have so much time published is the comic strip Anime News Nina. These comic strips are published every fifteen days or monthly and are starred by Nina, some kind of mascot of the website that is based on a typical anime girl. Even being a fictional character she interacts with every kind of anime fans and otaku and persons related with the media presenting in a comic way any kind of situation that us as anime fans have lived. Sometimes she’s acompanied  by her friends Paola and Kevin and her weird pet Myopi that defecates candies. It’s available to read on that page and recommend it, written and illustrated by Robin Sevakis.

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On another note, I’m used to watch some animated series or a video it might be interesting to me on YouTube while I get ready to start the day on PC or in my smartphone so sometimes I find some fun video, series or channel. This week I found out an animated series called Braceface which is typical teenage girl’s series. This time with a blonde star, a little attractive and a little popular which one day her dentist puts her some braces affecting her physical appearance. As you could guess this series tells the common troubles of this teenager that accompanied by her geek boy friend and her sporty girl friend she will face them not only because she has lost some physical attractive but her common family, friendship and love affairs. Something different about these series is that besides her braces have curious effects like being able to hear cell phone calls and being magnetized, this series doesn’t go by the artificial and superficial side of some similar like Bratz and Monster High, but it really tells a believable story with more deep character (not much). Maybe it isn’t at the same level as many clssical series but is a good choice to watch a typical teenage series, and by the way, the drawing is adequate but not one of my favorite.

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Fantasy and Science / Utena and Minute Physics

Recently I was aditing my next Magical Girl Anime History video so I had to refresh my memory of some series of which I made a synopsis and betweem them I remembered Utena. Shoujo Kakumei Utena is a series that I enjoyed a lot in every format it was published, made with a very good production quality and twisting many concepts and formulas, and it’s because of that that I feel that many time it was misunderstood. Some of the misunderstandings on this series is the play they make with the relationship between Utena and her protegee Anthy, thinking a lot of people that it was a lesbian relationship but we need to watch it carefully to realize that it’s only a very good friendship among them to support each other to become better women acquiring power that the men on the series don’t want or can’t give them. Another misunderstanding is about the stages and some sequences where this series shows everyting as a great theatre play using many items, icons and images to highlight the situations so a lot of people that don’t note this think that many things on the series are silly or unreal.

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Anthy Himemiya, Utena Tenjou and someone important later on the series.

In conclusion this series tells a story where two women support each other to become the best they can and break many limitations imposed by the society because her gender ans situation, a lot of this represented sometimes in asimbolic way in addition to showing many of these personal limitations with each person they meet. I suggest you a lot this series both, by its artistic value and by the story itself, I advise you to watch it with an open mind to enjoy each detail without prejudices and to best understand a lot of the back story.

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On other things, a lot of people think that in YouTube the videos with worthy content are scarce having it full of home videos about trivial and daily things. But if we look carefully we can find many creators that give us contents both fun and full of info, one of these is the Minute Physics channel that it’s been around for some time presenting very illustrative and entertaining short videos giving us knowledge of many natural phenomenons that are explained by physics. Check it out, it’s like reading small scientific notes animated on video.

Fan Translations, we thank them and we condemn them

The fans of many hobbies, games and movie and TV productions thanks to the internet have had and we have had a space where we share what we like and are passionate about which is what connects us to people with similar tastes. Also thanks to these online spaces and resources we could know and share things that aren’t easy to find on our countries because they are of foreign origins, not something that is available localy, neither something well known and that is liked by very specific people.

In my case being a fan of anime and video games on Mexico most of that work is of foreign origin which is in another language and is not so much accepted between the common , more traditional and conventional people of my country, so both the games as well as the anime series and movies are found on specific and limited spaces that depend on the interest of the distributors and the possibility of the product to be successfuly merchandised. This results on which anime series we can watch translated in spanish for TV, cinemas and physical formats like DVD and BluRay (and online more recently thanks to Crunchyroll and Netflix) and which video games, mostly japanese, are translated and imported for its sale on Mexico where we are subjected to the tastes of the american gamers.

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Mother 3 is acult game that is well known because its unofficial translation.

It’s from there where it comes the need of the more devoted and knowledgeable fans of finding a translated version of unknown or very old movies, anime series and video games on a more accesible language  for them, in spanish or at least in english. To cover this need and sharing this pasion for all of this there are fans that with the technical knowledge and of languages are devoted to the work of translating those movies, TV series and video games from languages that few speak, like japanese and korean, just for the sake of sharing those works.

These translations are usually called fan translations, on the specific case of TV series and movies, fansubs (because they add subtitles) and in the case of written or printed works like novels and manga, scanlators (because they scan and edit the printed works). All of them (or at least most of them, because there are people that do it for the fame) follow certain and well known rules that are intended to prevent the least possiblethe creators and publishers of the works that are condensed in two points.

  • Al the translations are created and distributed for free because at the end they are looking to promote and share the work that they like without having any profit from the work that isn’t theirs or by them.
  • If a specific translated work is officially distributed (like a particular series, movie or game) on the country of the translators, the specific work that they translated it has to be stopped its distribution to prevent any damage to the sales and distribution of the official translated work.

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 Because these translations made by fans aren’t aproved by the companies that produce the original work and don’t give them any revenues, neither them nor the creators and because it can cause resistance by the consumers to pay for the original work, many times have a bad perception equaling them with piracy, more when in some countries like Mexico there’s an unnoficial market of these translated works that takes advantage of the ignorance and economic limitations (and sometimes cinism) of the people. But it must be recognized the work and effort that is linked to these translations of printed works, TV series, movies and mostly video games because all the technical work and applied knowledge to make them comes from a genuine apreciation for the work that is normally without waiting somehing in exchange.

Thanks to these translations many of us can enjoy series, movies and games that we know it might not be very possible that are translated and officially distributed either because for them the sudience is very small, because the work is very old or in some cases because it’s a work that because legal complications it isn’t possible its distribution.

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Fails like this and many in grammar abound in fansubs, in addition that they take many liberties on the translation.

And to close in the case of translations made in spanish unfortunately a lot of them are made by groups that are unethic or with double morals because in addition that a lot of times their translations come from translations in english of which they don’t bother to contact the original translators, the also don’t respect the distribution because they continue distributing these series despite that are available official translations in their countries. Besides because many of these translators become popular when they distribute series that a lot of fans want, this cheap and artificial popularity and fame make them feel unrealistically important perceiving themselves in a status of owners or authors of the work of which they don’t have any rights.

And you, what do you think of the trnaslations made by fans?, have you got any sometime?, in which cases do you think are good or bad they exist?.