Tag Archives: alien

Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

I’m a huge sucker for anime that involves martial arts. Heck, for anything that involves martial arts. I dream about one day becoming a disciple of a certain martial arts form, but that day may be behind me (my only training was trying lethal moves out on my sister, in a joking manner of course). But the adrenaline and inspiration that martial arts injects into me makes me feel like I can do anything. And a character like Kenichi: History’s Mightiest Disciple proves it.

Although this anime boasts 50 episodes (and OVA’s to come), it is rather simple and extols the teachings and techniques of martial arts. Kenichi “Weak Knees” Shirahama (Josh Grelle) is just what his nickname suggests. Picked on all the time at school and always outcasted, Kenichi joins the school’s Karate Club in order to become stronger. After being

Kenichi and the masters of Ryozanpaku!

threatened by the biggest kid in the club, Kenichi is worried for his life. And his alien looking friend Haruo Niijima (Todd Haberkorn) confirms this.

Until one day when Kenichi’s entire life changes. Rescued by a new transfer student to the school, Miu Furinji (Carrie Savage), Kenichi discovers a way to fight back against all those bullies. Joining the Ryozanpaku dojo, Kenichi becomes the sole disciple and strongest hero by story’s end.

Miu, the boob action in the show. Pretty ridonk fighter though.

What I liked most about this show, other than the martial arts, is the sensei’s of the dojo. There’s Hayato Furinji (R. Bruce Elliott), the wizened leader of the gym who is basically unstoppable. Although he’s not around, he supports Kenichi and his granddaughter Miu. There’s Shio Sakaki (Christopher Sabat) the drunken comedy and Karate master. His punches are fierce and so is his standoffish personality. He likes Kenichi like a father (although he already has one) and pushes him to do better.  Apachai Hopachai (Sonny Strait) is the dumb guy in the group. He’s lovable and friendly, but he doesn’t know his own strength. Always kicking Kenichi into the atmosphere, he loves calling out his name when he performs Muay Thai (my favorite. Period.) Shigure Kosaka  (Trina Nishimura) is the weapons expert of the group. She doesn’t talk much, but makes up for it with quick sharp wit with her blade. Kensei Ma (Vic Mignogna) is an interesting old man. Bald and brazen, he brings the pervert aspect into the anime. Always taking pictures, he still finds time to teach Kenichi Chinese Kenpo (softer martial arts). And last but not least, Kenichi’s main teacher, Akisame Koetsuji (Kent Williams). His intelligence and artful technique pervade every aspect of his life. He can usually be seen forcing Kenichi to tow him around on a tire attached to a string through the city streets.

The Shinpaku alliance!

And there are far more characters than that that add spice to this show. As I mentioned before, Niijima is a wonderfully slithery character. His art of running away never fails, and his PDA never fails on recon. Todd Haberkorn brings a wildly raucous character to life with his evil alien features. And then there’s Ragnarok. Considered all to be Kenichi’s arch rivals, Kenichi must defeat them in order to keep from dying (or anything else terrible). One of my personal favorites is Hermit (Eric Vale) this solemn and quiet character has a masterful technique and an iron will. Eric Vale does a wonderful job as usual as a character who never gives up with a great dramatic voice. Jerry Jewell plays a ferociously sinister character I can’t really talk about, but he’s worth waiting for. And J. Michael Tatum does a voice I didn’t recognize at first with Ikki Takeda, the boxing beauty with shiny blue hair.

With all of these wonderful Funimation voice actors and so many characters, nothing could be better. And then you get down to all the fighting. Although some of it may be unrealistic and come with explosions of light and unheard of power with your fists, the technique is there. I’ve learned more from watching Kenichi than I have from anything else. I know moves, fluid techniques, and trick moves too. I know their names and why they’re significant, I might as well have just

Niijima and his wonderfully alien good looks.

watched a Discovery Channel show on it. And from so many different countries! China, Japan, Thailand, and any other Asian country that may have been mentioned. This show displays a sort of U.N. like congregation of the wonders and majesty of martial arts and brings them together in one wonderful show.

This show may floor you.

The plot is simple and straightforward, pulling no punches (pun-ch intended). Kenichi must systematically defeat and conquer enemies and his fears in order to become the best. What more of an archetypal story do you need? Throw in a whole lot of comedy, boobs, and amazing fighting technique, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is one of the best shounen out there. Get some of that kick ass. 8.3 out of 10.

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Predator: Some of that Schwarzennshizz.

Here’s The Abyss back again for a quick review on an oldie but a goodie, Predator. In happening upon Predator in a friend’s movie collection, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity not to watch this one again. Let me just say that, when it came to the Alien and Predator series, I watched those bad boys in order. And then watched AVP 1 & 2. I immersed myself in the horror/sci-fi genre and it felt real nostalgic to come back to it after so long. And it doesn’t hurt to love the Govenator.

So let’s travel back to a wonderful time when Arnold was still a huge action star and not involved in politics. A time when Carl Weathers was ripped as balls. A time when Predator was a badass. Oh wait, he still is. In having to choose between the two successful baddies of the AVP series, I will always lean towards the Predator species. Superior hunting skills? No need for vast numbers to eradicate from within the human species? Sign me up for that. Although I get a bit hesitant to say I like the way Predator looks with those mandibles in comparison to Alien, but I like the way Peter Cullen did the voice effects. I’ll take blades over acid

What a rag tag group of hardasses.

blood any day.

So, coming from an operation gone wrong standpoint, (a helpful suggestion from Arnold himself) Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and crew get dropped into hostile territory. Somewhere in the vast wilderness of Central America, the military has recruited a handful of elite operatives for a rescue mission. Some officials were downed in their chopper (“Get to the choppa!”) and they must be rescued from some bad news drug smugglers. So throw in some Carl Weathers in his prime as C.I.A. Dillon and a Native American spirit dweller (Sonny Landham) and you have yourself a gruesome, action packed, guys gettin’ vaporized horror thriller.

Pretty dope. A bit strange with that face though...

Now, when you think about Predator and the cast that was assembled, you have to wonder about the steroid requirement on set. And the fact that there wasn’t one. Arnold was bustin’ his dogs out hardcore for some guerilla warfare with Carl Weathers not far behind (it must’ve helped being Apollo Creed). You got Jesse Ventura as Blain. That absurdly crazy man was in Vietnam, the WWF, and a political activist, all in one life. Let’s talk accomplished. Add Bill Duke, the insanely gargantuan Bible thumper of the group with a bad attitude, always mumbling about noises and the Holy Spirit. Everybody else’s bodies kind of dropped off the radar after that, because you only need 4 or 5 big bodies to really take on a single Predator.

And let’s talk about the heartbreak that would’ve made this movie even better. Van Damme was supposed to play Predator. His kicks and karate know-how

That's a big gun, Bible Thumper. Gonna fell some trees?

would’ve left everyone on set in shambles. But he just had to complain about the awkwardness of the suit and its clammy feeling walking around. Where’s Seagal when you need him? Steven never complains. With that tragic loss, the movie turned to Kevin Peter Hall, creature enthusiast. Whether it be Predator or Harry and the Hendersons, this guy gave it his all until he died. Although you could tell that costume was mad awkward to maneuver.

Ventura and Duke. The big old crazies.

Overall, the story is simple and easy to follow. With a film like this, or Alien (which is a bit more complicated) you don’t need too much to go on. It’s more about the visual effects and aspect anyways. Despite a ridiculous initial battle scene with the guerrilla warriors that left not a single man in Dutch’s platoon scarred, the movie fell into what I would consider a Hollywood realm of possibility. The acting didn’t matter so much and the believability of an elite force just barreling through the woods with giant ass guns, firing from the hip and felling trees with their biceps, didn’t help much either. But this series has become quite iconic in its scope in pop culture today. Everyone gives it up for Arnold and his attempts at becoming a beloved American actor. Not acclaimed, but loved all the same. His lines will forever stand out in my mind.

He's wondering where Van Damme is...

And to create such a creature as they did who is loved and recognized by a considerable number of sci-fi fans. I applaud those who attempt his costume, if at all at conventions. So, if nothing else, appreciate this movie for its novelty. Overall, even for its time, it just falls through the cracks of what is considered a classically good movie. But a cult followed movie? This fits right in. So let’s take it that way and appreciate Carl Weather’s screams in vain as his arm is severed by Predator’s heat laser. Get some of that Schwarzennschizz. A solid 6.8 out of 10.


Super 8: Goonies Meets Close Encounters

Strangely enough about the “golden child” (I’m sarcastically giving him this name.) J.J. Abrams, I’ve only seen two of his films. (Star Trek and now Super 8) And I’ve seen absolutely none of his produced work. I’m a big opponent of Lost. Any show that ends with a dream-like plot in which all the characters are dead… Wow. Nice little steal from The Sixth Sense, you jerk. But I laughed because people were let down. Back to J.J. Star Trek was great, and Abrams only other sci-fi genre film. It was full of action and great dialogue, and, coming from someone who has never watched Star Trek (movies or otherwise) it was a worthwhile watch. True fans didn’t like it, did they? Oh well…

I’m just gonna say, examining J.J. Abrams sci-fi films, I am impressed. Especially with Super 8. This film had a great children’s main cast. Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) was a fantastic find for this film. Getting into acting through his struggling acting brother, it must suck to be his brother and lacking the opportunity Joel was given. Elle Fanning delivered as the spunky tomboy, Alice Dainard. Gaining a bit of a better reputation than her sister, Dakota, I hope that she goes far with this film. Other notables are Riley Griffiths as that fat boy director, Charles Kaznyk. If only he had stopped using the phrase “mint”, I would’ve liked him better. Ryan Lee was a great element of comic relief as Cary, the pyrotechnics expert. And, surprisingly, the most experienced out of the bunch was the least important of the characters, Zach Mills as Preston. His whiney pansy character fell into the background when the heat turned on.

And what was great about these children was the chemistry between them. Just like in The Goonies, these kids really felt like they were friends before they

A rag tag bunch of kids witness a violent track crash.

started filming. And the back and forth banter between these kids was something to behold. Some good solid character casting. This might be due more to the executive producing of Steven Spielburg, but who really knows? Also, what’s great about this film is that in takes place in Ohio. It needs to be said, being an Ohioan myself, that if you don’t know where to set a story or movie, set it in Ohio. To filmmakers, it appears to be someplace nondescript that anything can take place in. Word.

My big find for this film? Good old Simon from 7th Heaven, David Gallagher. Since then, he’s been doing a bit of work (most notably for me, Riku’s voice actor for the outrageously amazing Kingdom Hearts series) and he was in this movie. Didn’t seem him at first? Look again. David plays Donny, the burnt out, long haired druggie who helps out in the clinch for the rag tag bunch of hoodlums. And I spotted him 6 years later in this film. I’ll put that in the win column for myself.

A love interest. With a zombie film.

Should I talk about the plot of this film? Sure. In this movie, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is the son of a policeman (Kyle Chandler. See? I told you I’d mention him again after that Premonition mention.) and something tragic just recently happened. In a terrible accident at her mother’s factory job, Joe finds himself in a spiral of depression and separation from his father after what happened. Blaming it on a drunken man and his daughter (Elle Fanning), a love between Joe and Alice becomes a Romeo and Juliet situation. Meanwhile, helping Charlie with his zombie film, the friends get together to film a scene one night at a train stop. In a flash, a truck mounts the tracks and head on collides with the train, sending everything into chaos. In the confusion, a specter of an alien is released, causing havoc on the small town outside of Cincinnati. With the help of some locals, this group of filmmakers must find some way to figure out what’s going on and stop the devastation as a strange group of covert army men roll in hard.

For some reason, I wish I had seen this movie in theaters. Watching in on a smaller screen makes me wish I had seen the special effects on a bigger screen. Heck, I was even impressed with the amateur film the group of kids was making. With some big, booming speakers and some darkness to watch it in, my movie watching experience would have multiplied dramatically. But I made do with what I had. I enjoyed the story and characters immensely, but found the sci-fi aspect of the story to lack a bit of originality. The alien was hard to discern and its purpose and history left something to be desired. For me, it was about the kids. With all this in mind, I would give this movie an 8.5 out of 10.

Kyle Chandler does kick some ass in this film.