Tag Archives: marriage

The Great Happiness Space

In this documentary by Jake Clennell (a UK documentarian), the world of Ouran High School Host Club comes to life. In Osaka, Japan, the Cafe Rakkyo is a place for tired and worn down women to come and feel healed, emotionally and probably physically, by the male hosts. With lots of drinking and fake flirting, Clennell dives into the secrets and tips of being a Japanese male host.

For Jake Clennell’s first time doing a documentary, he does a great job. In a mere hour and fifteen minutes, he captures the host life through a

Not your average Ouran boys…

handful of interviews and first hand events. Centered around the owner of Cafe Rakkyo, Issei, who every girl loves and wants to be with. His animal magnetism comes from the way in which he tailors himself to what a girl wants. And what’s the endgame? Money.

This entire interview/documentary is about a human’s instability. Growing up into such a business mogul the way in which Issei did has sacrificed something. Even those who have come in fresh to the game (as one host did) notice something different about themselves. The hosts can’t escape the attraction to the girls (some say love, others say connection) but in the end there is a lot of focus on materialism. Fashion designer clothes, accessories, hairstyles, it’s all about selling themselves to entice women to come to their host club. They lose the excitement of falling in love with someone and lose senses of trust, commitment, and honesty.

Some cute Asian cuddling?

From someone who doesn’t know a thing about host clubs or anything other than from anime, it comes as a culture shock. To see men in a power and control of sexuality and a socialite position in quite in contrast to America. Here, women hold all the power when it comes to sex. We pay for their drinks, we are the ones that instinctively flock towards them in clubs and bars. Men actively seek women in this country. It is up to the women to say yes or no.

But, in the world of Japan, men are the ones in these types of clubs that dictate the tempo. Women pay for privacy and one on one time with them. Women buy the men drinks in order to loosen them up and make them more friendly towards them. These women spend

Just your average host selection bar…

thousands of dollars a visit in order to woo these men. A male host starting off can make $10,000 American dollars a month. How insane!

And then comes the issue of who comes to these host clubs. More often than not, they’re call girls/prostitutes who have just gotten off work. They come to relax and enjoy time away where they’re the ones being catered to. The Osaka district in Japan is drenched in sex. Male businessmen, young impressionable females, host club employees, it’s everywhere. And to see a place that encourages social interaction other than sex is something interesting and new.

The real message to take away.

In the end, as these boys emerge from their cavernous man-den, the come out drunkenly into the sunlight, falling over, hair a bit askew, wanting a good night’s rest. And they’ll be back in a few hours to do it all over again. Issei heads back to his apartment, speculating about his future life and if he’ll ever marry. But what this documentary has delved into is that this may not be the case for this host culture. A bunch of boys jaded by love and what it means to be faithful, who knows if they’ll ever find love. All I know is that this documentary was entertaining and complex, insightful and opened a whole new culture aspect to me (being interested in Japanese culture and all). If you like pretty Asian boys or just something that will make you more aware and intelligent on Japan, you need to check this out. It’s pretty deep. 7.2 out of 10.

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The Ten: Thou Shalt Laugh

David Wain surprises me again and again with his hilarious body of work. And not his actual body, mind you, because it is funny that his balding haircut is as comic as his movies. But The Ten is a comedic movie taking a different angle on the Ten Commandments. With ten short sketches about just what do those commandments mean leaves you understanding just what a modern view of those rules are.

Paul Rudd is the host of this little soiree, sticking his head in and out as he lives beneath the two behemoth tablets. Married to Famke Janssen, Paul struggles with the commandments himself and finds love in Jessica Alba, as his life is turned upside down. Now, I love Paul Rudd. Being the straight man comes off as strange for him sometimes, but 50/50 it works in his comedies. I just love that he has worked so closely with David Wain over the years (Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer, this…) that he has been able to

Paul Rudd, you genius, you.

cultivate comedic characters that are both funny and underhandedly serious at the same time. That’s a balance that’s hard to walk, but Rudd finds a way. He is one of my favorite comedic actors of all time. Thank God (pardon the pun) for The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Some Pinocchio lovin’.

Now some of these stories are hit and miss. Winona Ryder’s scenes with Adam Brody and the ventriloquist dummy are some of the best. It’s nice to see that characters came back in this series. The commandment story with Liev Schreiber in competition with Joe Lo Truglio over MRI machines was hilarious. But not all of them are that good. The goof story and the subsequent ass rape story were a little off base, but I can see where David Wain was coming from. To take a serious situation and make it into something darkly funny is usually key, but it all comes with the territory that you might fudge it up. But it all wraps together nicely with a song and dance with some nude men and Roberta Flack. It was truly killing me softly.

That’s a lot of nude men who like Roberta Flack.

I would say as far as concept, this movie is an interesting one. It hits the points I find interesting. Modern day religion, characters tied into each other’s stories, and a comedic element of seriousness that pushes the story along. It’s not as good as some of David Wain’s other work, but it wasn’t a bad attempt either. It’s worth watching, but if you are offended by animated orgies or sex with dolls, then maybe you should look elsewhere for your comedy. I got a laugh out of it, and you might too. A decent film, The Ten deserves a 6.5 out of TEN.


Harsh Times: Get Some Christian Bale

In one of my favorite Christian Bale films, Bale plays a hardened soldier newly returned to South Central Los Angeles. With new promising jobs for himself on the horizon, Jim Davis (Bale) has his feet in two camps. In one, Davis is a well-to-do yet slightly skewed veteran soldier that wants to bring his loving Mexican girlfriend to the U.S. and marry her. In the other, Davis has returned to his old haunts around the streets of L.A., drinking and living the life of a hoodrat. Cruising around with his friend Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodriguez), attempting to right their lives but always falling short.

Jim Davis, although its not explicitly stated, suffers from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. After serving over in the Middle East, Davis suffers from bouts of extreme anger and unquenchable violence. This get him in some trouble throughout the film. In a manner of speaking, Davis becomes his own undoing, turning into a destructive time bomb ready to explode at any moment, hurting those he cares about. As an outsider viewing this, Alonzo (Rodriguez) is a spectator to the bomb

Two thugs, cruisin’ to get their. Rodriguez is creepin’ a bit hard on Bale though…

show. Both serve as peer pressure for the other, although, in the end, Davis seems to want to remain in his in between life much longer than Alonzo does.

The film starts with a bit of iffy war footage of Christian Bale running around in trenches, letting his gun go at will and laying waste to the terrorists. This is juxtaposed to the waking fear that he feels when he wakes up in the squalor of his girlfriend’s poverty in Mexico. Marta (Tammy Trull) is a wonderfully devoted character who is only a product of the environment around her. She makes the best of what she has and loves Davis dearly. Jim loves her too, and surprisingly never cheats on her. In this movie, Spanish is the language of love, spoken competently by Bale in this film, as if he picked it up after falling in love with Marta. The language barriers and connections in this film between the white and Latino characters is one I applaud in its representation in the film.

The hardened stare of a killer.

I was also impressed with Freddy Rodriguez’s performance in this film as well. Not seeing him in much other than the Grindhouse films and Six Feet Under. His voice is more recognizable than his acting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because he ran his mouth in this film. Sylvia, played by Eva Longoria, was just thoroughly average in this film, as she usually is. (I did surprisingly like her in Over My Dead Body… if that’s what it’s called). Terry Crews, star of The Longest Yard and The Expendables, made a surprise appearance as a semi-believable street thug, providing some of the only comedy in the film. And last but not least, J.K. Simmons made an appearance as a Homeland Security agent looking to hire Davis. He’s always believable as authority figures in his films.

In this film comes a lot of the breakdown of what happens to someone who suffers through war. It may not appear during their service as in this film, but it may occur anytime after, triggered by any number of things. For Davis, I felt it was his return to a society that was just as cruel as the conditions he felt in

Look everyone, it’s the Old Spice Guy!

war times that did it for him. He came back to more of what he knew, and treated it like the warring sands of the Middle East. And what impressed me more with David Ayer’s writing and directing, is that he based these characters on real people from his experience in South L.A. This brought a new level to Christian Bale’s acting and the way in which his character was formulated.

Bale and Rodriguez getting the direction they need from Ayers.

Let me say again how impressed I was with Christian Bale’s acting in this film. As one of my favorite films of his, Christian Bale does nothing less than attempt and succeed at an American accent. Although I felt that the lingo used in this film was a bit over the top, when it was used, it was more than likely appropriate. With some tricks of the trade thrown in there and some real mean streets shizz, it wasn’t a stretch to believe the events of the film. But it just goes to show that the corruption of the streets can easily lead to a tragedy. And the way that Christian Bale portrays that breakdown of a character, up to the tears and fear, its a commendable performance. Not to mention how frightening Christian Bale becomes when he’s serious. I wouldn’t wanna deal with him in a dark alley.

So with his performance, some true to the streets gang banging, and the whites vs. the latinos really

Jim Davis, rollin’ hard to get his.

adds a lot to a well written story. The psychological thriller elements of the film are well delivered and I can connect things I’ve witnessed in my life to the events onscreen. On a touchy subject like the recent tours of duty over in Iraq and Afghanistan, this movie touches just the right spots with aplomb. I’ll give this one, as should be expected, a decent 84. out of 10.


My Bride is a Mermaid

Let me start off by saying that this is now one of my favorite humorous comedic anime. Hands down. It’s simple, it’s hilarious, and it encompasses an all star cast of voice actors that bring the humor up to a whole new level. I recommend dubbed before subbed, naturally, as I feel anime that we can’t really glean a good delivery from due to subtitles suffers in the delivery. But this anime really stands out to me as one of those anime that comes along for purely a comedic purpose and nails it. Yes, there are quite a few sexual innuendos and reference and most of the characters are drawn in a sexual manner, but it doesn’t detract from the awesomeness that is My Bride is a Mermaid.

The plot of this show is that Nagasumi Michishio(Todd Haberkorn) is visiting his grandmother at the Seto Inland Sea. He drowns. But who saves him? A mermaid. And because Nagasumi has seen Sun Seto (Alexis Tipton), he must pay the price

Pretty serious there, eh?

with his life, for it is the mermaid law. But clever little Sun uses the “loophole” in the law and marries Nagasumi in an effort to save both their hides (or tails in Sun’s situation). This leads to a hilarious string of goofy and outlandish situations that kept me laughing through all 26 episodes.

Okay, so the voice actors that make up the cast of MBIAM is what makes the show amazing. We have Todd Haberkorn as Nagasumi, and his voice always lends a bit of geeky, endearing comedy to everything he does. I truly feel he’s always cast as the geeky character, and I have no problem with that, he’s quite amazing at it and always delivers well. There’s John Swasey, doing his gruff badass voice (he has two modes, gruff or girly) as Sun’s father Gozaburo, the leader of the mermaid mafia gang that threatens Nagasumi’s life. He is not cool with his daughter’s marriage, and makes it a point to make Nagasumi’s life a living Hell.

Now he’s a voice actor who surprised me. Christopher Sabat (AKA God) surprised me fully with his voice as Masa, the black mafia member of the Seto

Christopher Sabat???

tribe. His voice comes off as so black and sensual that you become shocked to find out that Piccolo did his voice. Great work. Monica Rial as Maki, the deranged conch shell assassin. Annoying at yet always laughably funny. Bryan Massey, as Shark, one of the funnier side characters of the anime who always speaks in the form of a question. Would love to cosplay him one day. Another shocker: J. Michael Tatum plays Lunar’s father, the Terminator spoofing hardbody who will do anything to quote one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films. And last but not least, Eric Vale. Time and time again he has proven to play characters I connect with and admire, be it my first love of Trunks or the great snob who is Kai Mikawa, the porpoise and agoraphobic who is after Sun’s heart.

Now that we’ve gotten a little into how great the voice actors are, let’s talk about the meat of the show. So, usually, every episode pertains, in some way, to some side character always trying to break up Sun and Nagasumi. Be it Sun’s father or Lunar (Cherami Leigh) Sun’s singing and life rival, there’s always something awkwardly sexual going on. Favorite scene? Nagasumi

Eric Vale, you devil, you...

rubbing down Sun’s legs behind a bush. (Mermaids can walk on human legs, but the second they touch water, it turns into a fin.) Oddly enough, some of this show, I would venture to guess, may turn on some men, who are into mermaids, and young voluptuous girls… That are cartoons. And I think that’s where the TV-MA rating comes in. There is the occasional swear, but the sexual content is where the show really gets its fangs.

All in all, I really love this new up and coming anime. I enjoyed every minute of it and found the dub to be far better than the sub. The delivery and timing of the jokes speaks to both a American and Japanese audience. The art direction was great (weird thing with shiny unicorn blood?) and although the theme song might have been annoying and a tad too long, it didn’t take away from the fact I would get excited when they show started to play. Definitely

Come watch, won't you?

look out for this anime and, hopefully, this will become a big thing. 8.7 out of 10.


Princess Tutu: Girly Manly Girl Anime

So most people may be thinking, “I need to check this guy’s man card. He’s reviewing an anime about pretty girls and boys performing ballet.” True. But I can assure you I have all the paperwork, sir. Princess Tutu, as the title suggests, may sound like one of the most girly animes on the planet. But, as I came to find, this show is wayyy more than that. This show, if you watch a few episodes, is quite good overall, with no gender barriers attached.

This is a show about a Duck (Ahiru) who is given the power of a necklace to

Princess Tutu (Duck after transformation)

transform into a girl and, once a girl, she can transform into Princess Tutu, the ballerina wonder. She is given this power by the writer and omnipresent Drosselmeyer (Nutcracker, anyone?) who controls and creates the story. The story within a story, so it seems, is that of a raven who battles a prince, and in order to save the prince, a knight shatters the prince’s heart to save him and protect the town against the evil raven.

Princess Tutu is in the story, and for her part, she is meant to recover those lost shards of the prince’s heart for him to recover his true self. Duck (Princess Tutu) attends the ballet school which Prince Mytho attends and searches all over the town for his heart. Meanwhile, Fakir (the knight) does not want Tutu to recover the heart shards and tries to thwart her, thinking of the prince and what is best for him. Also introduced into the story is the dancer Rue, the beautiful and elegant ballet student who holds a love interest for Mytho. With the plot swirling around these characters, we go along for the ride in discovering exactly what this little town holds.

Besides these four, this story holds host to a great number of smaller characters that really spice up the story. At first through the anime, we’re introduced to those characters who hold heart shards, so, of course, they all have something wrong with them. There’s always a ballet student or two who are animals pretending to be humans, which no one at all finds strange. This is probably some comment on how Duck hides the fact that she’s a duck through her magical necklace. But, either way, this anime has one of the best characters you will ever meet. Mr. Cat. This ballet instructor cat-man

MR. CAT

instructs all the classes and efficiently attempts to marry anyone who fails.

I watched the sub, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from watching the dubbed version, because most of the voices are done quite well (Guest star Vic Mignogna) but it will throw you off if you start watching one way and then another. Mytho switches from a girly voice to one quite more sexual, and Fakir goes the other way around. (Quite sad) The art of the anime is quite good, but always felt a little blurry around the edges to me. I like my anime to be sharp and flow with almost 3-D like quality (not 3-D movie crap) and to seem almost brand new. I know that’s a lot to ask from anime, but those are the ones that pop out to me (usually mecha anime, I find).

The plot, at times, is quite repetitive. Almost too repetitive. The first half of the show is all about finding Mytho’s heart shards and the second half is all about saving girls from the raven. It isn’t until the last episodes that a story is really fleshed out into its full scope. You are given little hints here and there along the way, but the basic format is the same. That includes the 17 second transformation sequence which I found out recently is pretty standard in these anime. There’s no such thing as a suggested action cut in anime. (Just made that phrase up.)

The characters really are great though and the anime rarely drags at any point. You watch as all the characters attempt to fight fate and the story that was written for them, with a great comment on the interaction of characters and author towards the end. Fan fiction (which was thrown around a lot while watching) slightly confused me, but I kind of get now once I’ve been told what it is. (For those who don’t know, fan fiction is fan created stories made using the characters already present in whatever the fan is interested in.) Usually used as a joke, I can definitely understand the appeal of using already created characters to bring about a story you envision yourself.

The characters are good, the art is quite good, and the plot really moves along. You usually find a favorite character (Mr. Cat) and jump along for the ride in all its ballet glory. Yes, I didn’t say anything in this review about ballet itself, but it is quite prominent in this anime. The characters don’t necessarily break out into dance, but they use dance to express, fight, and fix what is wrong. It’s all surprisingly accurate in form and referral, and I actually found myself not bored to tears when it came to the actual dancing. Every anime had its own theme and opening which gave it a unique flavor every time. I would definitely recommend this anime for the not faint of heart who can enjoy the alternative to most anime. 7.2 out of 10.