Tag Archives: cosplays

Bleach: Shounen on a Giant Scale

With the new circuit of conventions on the East Coast comes a new batch of cosplays to plan. And what caught my eye this summer, as my girlfriend suggested was Sosuke Aizen, main antagonist of the hit shounen series (still running) Bleach from Japan. (As all anime are usually from  there.) Not knowing a thing about the character I would attempt to portray, I thought, heck, let me take a stab at watching some Bleach. I had no idea what was in store for me for the next 5 weeks. With incredibly long battle scenes of at least 2-3 episodes in length, filler SEASONS and the occaisonal humorous episode, this show throws a lot at you in what I feel is a reasonably paced amount of time. And the more you watch, the more you feel for certain characters and the more you feel like talking about it all the time (I wish I had a Bleach buddy to discuss the finer things with…). With such a cult following (very similar to Naruto) Bleach has become a staple I feel any anime fan should at least tune into every once in a while.

Ichigo and Rukia. Strange love twisted relationship?

So I’m not going to delve to deeply into the story, so I’ll keep it restricted to the first couple of seasons. I already ruined one spoiler for you, so I hope it doesn’t deter you from watching at all. Ichigo Kurosaki is a typical 15 year old high schooler. Well, almost. He has the ability to see spirits that haven’t crossed over and he doesn’t really know why. But this hypersensitive awareness to the Other has caused him a bit of trouble. Which turns into a lot of trouble. That he may inevitably face for the rest of his life.

One day, while walking home from school (insert whistling skip here), Ichigo encounters something he’s never seen before. (Which, based on how often it happens in his hometown of Karakura Town, I’m surprised he hasn’t seen it before…) Rukia Kuchiki, a black robed Shinigami Soul Reaper is battling what appears to be a skull-masked monster. After a few episodes, in her weakened state, she can no longer battle and lends almost all of her power to Ichigo. In a sudden flash and transformation, Ichigo is transformed into a Soul Reaper himself and embarks on countless adventures of struggle and strife.

Due to Ichigo’s acquirement of Rukia’s powers, Rukia is taken prisoner by her brother Byakuya Kuchiki and Renji Abari, and sentenced to death. Ichigo and his friends, Orihime Inoue, Yatsutora Sado, and Uryu Ishida, must all band together and reach the Soul Society, afterworld in which the 13 Court Guard Squads reign supreme over all souls and the dealings with the Hollows. (Hollows end up being a main form of opponent of Ichigo in the first and successive seasons, just in different forms.)

Ichigo fights to save Rukia!

After coming to and entering the Soul Society’s inner chamber, known as the Seireitei, Ichigo and Co. must battle hordes of Soul Reapers, both weak and powerful. Beginning his own path to strength, it is with and against the Soul Society and the Court Guard Squads that Ichigo finds his place in such a new world. With new enemies and challenges that seem to pop up out of nowhere as the seasons go, it may seem (as Ichigo’s voice actor said reluctantly, yet happily, that the show may never end, but at least he’ll continue to get paid for it.)

An immense amount of badasses.

All-in-all, with such an expansive cast with so many characters, this show is unbelievably immense in its scope and plot. And it’s mainly due to the writing and characters behind it. Although many fans may think the show should’ve ended long ago, I’ll have to see once I get farther (I’m on episode 212.). But there needs to be a lot of credit given to the vocal cast of this show. This show, although it would be just fine subbed, may credit it’s American fan base success to Johnny Yong Bosch, voice of Ichigo Kurosaki, our hero. With his deeply troubled teen facing a whole lot of changes in life way beyond that of anyone else due to its mythical quality, Bosch adds an at times playful yet at most times serious voice to a complex character.

Seeing as there are so many characters, I can’t really give credit to all those who lends their great voices to the show. So, for starters, Derek Stephen Prince is owed some credit for his snarky, unabashed portrayal of Uryu Ishida, the

I enjoy this fan pic. (Uryu Ishida)

last of the Quincies. And, although he may not speak much, Jamieson Price gives a greatly underappreciated voice as Yatsutora Sado, the deeply softspoken Hispanic wonder. Gin Ichimaru, voiced by Doug Erholtz, is another voice that stood out to me with its snake-like charm and venomous words as another worthy opponent. Karen Strassman gave a semi-heartbreaking performance as Momo Hinamori, the lieutenant of Sosuke Aizen (voiced by Kyle Herbert), a woman in love with duty and the will to follow. Byakuya Kuchiki is amazingly voiced by a badass, Dan Woren. His I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude really shines through with that heart of gold underneath with

Byakuya Kuchiki, how fantastic

Woren’s voice. David Lodge, a voice actor I’m not that familiar with, adds a new voice I haven’t heard before with the grave undertones of Kenpachi Zaraki. And last but certainly not least comes Liam O’Brien. His amazingly recognizable voice lends itself perfectly to the soft spoken Jushiro Ukitake. And that’s only to name a few. After a while, characters voices become synonymous with the character portrayed on screen in perfect sychronization.

Now, the animation is the good and bad thing about this show. As it progresses, through the past few years, it has gotten better. It’s never been completely terrible, but I admire and try to find anime that have a more fluid style to their action scenes. This show has improved, but I find there are more stationary shots dealing with dialogue and explosions than actual fluid swordfights. Although a part of this show deals with powers and sword attacks not in the short term, there is an element of strategy among the characters I can admire.

Something to look forward to in Bleach.

Apart from being in the top 10 longest running anime, it would be nice to see this show concluded in a way that won’t have been conceived out of a sense of pressure due to its length. I would rather have a harmonious ending with all the seasons fitting together in what becomes a well planned final battle between the characters that matter. Also, I wouldn’t mind if some of the main good guys perished every once in a while, it seems like (with most anime of this style) that no main characters ever die. It might add an element of drama not before captured in this show. Just a thought.

A solid 8.3 out of 10.

 

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Silent Hill: The Movie of the Video Game that Freaked Me Out

This little gem of a horror movie scared me a bit the first time, but watching it again, I find it to be a worthwhile watch. Never having played the video games, I can appreciate the adaptation this game portrayed onscreen, and can understand if anyone was offended by this adaptation. But it really is up to those who see the film and have played the games to decide for themselves.

From what I gather from the films plot line, this is a story about a mother Rose De Silva (Radha Mitchell) searching for her adopted daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). She comes upon Silent Hill, the run down West Virginia coal town that has become a ghost town. While there, Rose comes upon some disturbing encounters that leads her to discovering the past behind her daughter. Along the way, Rose encounters undead coal miners, pyramid heads (popular cosplays, if I may add), and dead nurses. All of this leads to some comment on religion and you can decide what the end of this movie means to you.

I gotta say though, this movie did freak me out a bit the first time I watched it. The whole idea of the demonic children in Rose’s first encounter was a bit ridiculous. And I do admit that I watched this at 2 in the morning, a poor choice if I ever made one. But this movie really delivers when it comes to the effects. It may be 5 years old, but this movie is a true testament to how special effects and a digitally graphic environment hasn’t really changed all that much over the years. The guts and gore remain about the same in horror movies, if only the slightest bit more real. Otherwise I give this movie based on a video game (hint to where it gets its effects from) a rather solid grade when it comes to its effects.

And, from what I’ve heard from game players, the game experience itself is like a horror movie. Except its gameplay. And you can run away or *scoff* fight. In its similarity to Condemned, this game probably brings it pretty hard in the fright department. I will probably not be playing this game if it delivers the way that Condemned did. That was a fright and a half. Not to mention how, in the game world, you’re experiencing these frights firsthand, with no musical cues. Forget that.

Acting. Not too bad. Radha Mitchell was quite decent in the film as Rose De Silva, Sharon’s mother. I found it quite notable that she has had experience before

Radha Mitchell. Decent

in the horror movie department and I think that lended to an overall great heroine/woman in distress hybrid performance. Sean Bean was a classic Dad on a Mission character as Rose’s husband Christopher. Although he never entered Silent Hill, he provided the back story from beyond the white veil. Deborah Kara Unger was great and quite beautiful as Alessa’s mother, and I think the only problem was attempting to hide her good looks under some sort of old witch outfit in this movie. Another more notable actress was Alice Krige, the South African actress who usually (so far as I know) brings a dramatic performance to her films. And you definitely hate her guts in this film, trust me.

The ending came as a bit of a surprise, so far as how the religion and “survivors” of Silent Hill ties in. But a decent cast and good effects ties together what makes a good, at least one time watch of this film. And then hey, you can go play the video games if the movie sparks your interest to have the poop scared out of you as you play. But who knows what this movie will do for you. I commend five time French director Christophe Gans on his work. It seems this film was right up his alley. So if you want to have a demonic experience (apparently a demonic experience that’s being re-released? in 3-D) check this out. It’s worth at least a cringe. 7.3 out of 10.

Pyramid Heads run train.