Heyyy! Hello, my Ticklish Toyboxers! What’s up? What’s been going on? As a few of you might already know, I took a mini-break to rest, recharge, and most importantly, let my elbows recover and ring-and-pinky fingers relax from an irritating twinge of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. So like I told Kris-chan last week: “I don’t think a planned 70-100 pic post would be in my best interest right now, lol. Besides, gave me stuff to think about. Hence, a new experimental post.”
Speaking of which, I hope you enjoyed my experimental Blog 206 > Anime Adrift. Not only an experiment, but it transformed into quite an intriguing Toyboxer test, haha! Congratulations to those of you who commented poetically and passed! But enough about last week. Just because I took it easy last week, doesn’t mean I won’t launch a massive 7-part 120-image cybernetic “mega-cast” or “giga-cast” this week. Including a deadly barrage of Japanese angels, gunslinging badasses, angelic cyborgs and otaku bloggers for every taste. So I hope you’re healthy, ready and willing enough to withstand the light-speed onslaught. Well, then? Let the battles begin…
Part 1 of 7 > Juri Ueno & Nodame Cantabile
Wow. Comedic. Dramatic. Inspiring. Sublime. What more can I add? What else can I say about the live-action Japanese drama “Nodame Cantabile” (2006), starring the irresistible Juri Ueno, eh? Here’s my speed-review for the anime-version back in my December Blog 178.
Nodame Cantabile . My 50th anime title-or-season of the year. Oh wow! Now this series is an extraordinary tapesty in the romantic-comedic styles of the classic “Kare Kano” and the rock-and-roll “Nana”, but colored and interwoven through searingly sublime piano, violin and orchestral music. Probably one of the most original, breathtaking, and utterly unforgettable series in a long time. Easily 5 of 5 stars!
So how does the 11-episode live-action drama compare? Well, let me answer it this way. While I watched the first episode on 24 May 2009, I finished the remaining ten episodes from 7 June to 12 June! Less than a week! And then I finished the 2-part “European Special” the next day on 13 June, haha. I mean, the over-the-top physical comedy sets up the profound emotional dilemmas perfectly. And this only works when the actors and actresses can portray the orchestral roller-coaster tale just as flawlessly. Like I said: Sublime. I’m even tempted to give my first 6 of 5 stars ever. But I mustn’t break the rules too often, or it defeats the purpose of the rating system, lol. Very well, let’s go with 5 of 5 stars. To celebrate, here are a series of screencaps from Design Chronicle and a couple of promotional shots from Sony Music Japan.
Hehe, shall I present my traditional fake captions?
Why am I showing the ending credits first?
Eh, why not? To give an initial impression of the overall series?
Ah, young Shinichi-kun before the terror and the trauma.
Ah, the college-aged Shinichi-sempai: “Who stole my porn?”
The next-door Nodame-chan: “You mean, *my* porn?”
Shinichi-sempai: “You threw my porn where?”
Shinichi-sempai: “I’ll have to teach you a lesson! A bath should do it!”
Nodame-chan: “Ahh, the piano feels like shampoo…”
Nodame-chan: “Is it true? The piano is nothing without porn!”
Nodame-chan: “Hehe, or is porn nothing without the piano?”
Shinichi-sempai: “Take that! You porn-stealing piano-playing fruit-cake!”
Nodame-chan: “Awww, I love it when he smacks me…”
Nodame-chan: “It means he loves me…”
Nodame-chan: “Oh no, I can’t find the porn I borrowed…”
Nodame-chan: “Maybe a little make-up will help?”
Shinichi-sempai: “Ah, porn is nothing without the violin!”
Nodame-chan: “You’re right! I thought the violin was nothing without porn!”
Nodame-chan: “Nooo, how can I be sick now? I need to find his porn…”
Mine-san: “Shinichi-san’s right. Porn is nothing without the violin!”
Shinichi-sempai: “Nodame-chan, let’s find the porn together.”
Stresemann-sensei: “Hahaha, what do you mean? I haven’t finished your porn yet!”
Stresemann-sensei: “But Nodame-chan, you can have it back in exchange for one kiss…”
Stresemann-sensei: “Nodame-chan, are you sure you don’t want your porn back?”
Stresemann-sensei: “Ahh, porn is nothing without an orchestra!
Nodame-chan: “I have to find it. I have to find it…”
Shinichi-sempai: “What? You couldn’t find my porn? Wait! You know where it is?”
Nodame-chan: “But I want to watch it too!”
Stresemann-sensei: “What!?! They stole back my favorite porn!?!”
Shinichi-sempai: “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken the porn from you.”
Stresemann-sensei: “You should *all* be sorry! That was mine-mine-mine!”
Nodame-chan: “Hehe, I can’t wait to see it! Can’t wait to see it!”
LOL, okay-okay, enough of the fake captions. Here’s the cover of what looks like a Japanese TV guide. For the week of 21-27 October 2006. Featuring Juri Ueno and Hiroshi Tamaki from “Nodame Cantabile”. Aww, lemons.
Here’s an inside page from that TV guide. Feel free to enlarge the image, hehe.
Next, here’s a couple of promotional shots from Sony Music Japan, lol. From the week of Christmas 2007.
Here’s another high-resolution shot. Feel free to enlarge the image, hehe.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my flurrying musings of “Nodame Cantabile”. It’s definitely hard *not* to fall in love or feel protective of the carefree Nodame-chan or actress Juri Ueno, lol. In fact, according to her Wikipedia page, 2 live-action “Nodame Cantabile” films are coming soon in 2010! Really? I’m not surprised at all. LOL, we can’t get enough of Juri-chan, can we?
Part 2 of 7 > Juri Ueno & Anime Adrift
Heyyy, speaking of Juri Ueno, I mentioned my experimental Blog 206 > Anime Adrift at the top of my giga-cast, right? Well, during my search for some high-resolution “Juri Ueno” pics to accompany my “Nodame” discussion, I stumbled across an online stash of her old pics from her “JURIfirst” (2004) photo book. Which means Juri-chan was 18-years-old when her photo book was released, two years after her 2002 television debut. Which also isn’t surprising, since many famous Japanese actresses began their entertainment career as a gravure idol. Actress Yukie Nakama, from the comedy “Gokusen” (Live-Action Drama, 2002, 2005, 2008), is another name which comes to mind. But some girls start as early as 12 years old, if not younger!
In any case, here are 2 brief photoshoots from her photo book. Feel free to enlarge the high-resolution scans.
Interestingly, here’s the cover *without* the additional cover flap.
Then here’s the cover *with* the cover flap, mentioning her fame in TV and commercials (CM), haha. Why not mention it, right?
Well, that’s all for now. Just a quick 9-page glimpse of the near-100-page photo book. Hmm, maybe I’ll trickle a few more photoshoots in the near future? Who knows? But now, from live-action romantic comedies and gravure-idol photo books, let’s leap 180-degrees into post-apocalyptic cyborg technologies!
Part 3 of 7 > Chronicles of Cyborgs & Terminators
Drama. Desperation. Terror. Horror. Sublime. What more can I add? What else can I say about the American sci-fi drama “Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2008), eh? Back in my Blog 203 last month, I mentioned that the series had been sadly cancelled before I even had a chance to finish it. But now that I’ve finished it, it’s even more sad. Within one month, I began the first episode of “Season 2” on 23 May 2009, then finished the final revealing episode just a few days ago, on 19 June 2009. Despite the expectedly heavy atmosphere within such a post-apocalyptic time-shifting saga, the acting amongst all of the actors is top-notch. And the stylistic reverence and cinematic adherence to the original film trilogy is uncanny! An impressive 5 of 5 stars! To celebrate, here are a series of high-resolution promotional wallpapers, photos and other images, many of which come from TV Spoilers Center.
Yup, here are a ton of huge images, including a bunch that are larger than 3000px, and a few that are 4000px! Gotta love the shotgun. A nice reference to the films, lol. Do you want to live?
Ah, here are the leading and killing women of the series.
And now, here are a stockpile of terminating wallpapers.
Well, do you really want to live? Despite the cancellation, I must congratulate the cast and crew of “Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2008) for a job well done! After 2 time-gripping mind-bending seasons, it’s sad to see it end. But maybe now, I can finally catch the latest “Terminator 4 – Salvation” (2009) film. Maybe?
Part 4 of 7 > Chronicles of Shirley, Summer & Stephanie
Ah, the deadly actresses of “Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles”! Shirley, Summer and Stephanie! Let’s begin with Shirley, lol. Wow, I first remember Shirley Manson when she was the lead vocalist of Garbage, back when I bought their debut album in 1995! Loved their music and especially her voice! Enough to buy their follow-up album “Version 2.0” in 1998, lol. So when I saw Shirley appear in this sci-fi series, in her first professional acting role, I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised! A 14-year arc, lol. Pretty awesome.
Next, remember Summer? Haha, like I mentioned a few mega-casts ago, I first remember Summer Glau from her previous sci-fi series “Firefly” (2002). And like I mentioned, this will be her *second* sci-fi axe. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, right? A 7-year arc, lol. Still pretty awesome.
By the way, here’s a hilarious NSFW-pornographic composite image I stumbled across in my “Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles” searches, lol. Be warned! Don’t enlarge the image unless you’re willing to subject yourself to some humorous nudity! But still, despite the poor spelling, the Photoshop quality is remarkable, lol. “Cum with her if you want to live”, lol.
Ah, last but never least, Stephanie! My favorite, lol. So why do I say “favorite”? Well, if you remember a couple of months ago in my Steampunk mega-cast (Blog 196, Part 4), I posted about my favorite “Firefly” fanfic character, the Anglo-Asian genius pilot I created and illustrated in 2004, named Akiko “Lucky” Yoshikawa. While Angry Mimi-chan may remind me of Lucky’s appearance and personality, Stephanie Jacobsen, based on her performance in “Battlestar Galactica – Razor” (2007), would be the perfect actress to play Lucky. Not only with her combined Portuguese, Chinese, Norwegian, and British heritage, but especially her Aussie accent!
So when I saw Stephanie appear in this series, yet another sci-fi series, I was immediately drawn into her particular strand of the “Terminator” saga. Here’s a still from the “Terminator” set.
Next, here’s a still from the “Battlestar Galactica – Razor” set. Impressive.
Finally, here’s a shot in a softer outfit, from neither “Terminator” nor “Battlestar Galactica”, lol.
So that’s it! The quick and dirty “Terminator” chronicles of Shirley, Summer and Stephanie linking “Garbage”, “Firefly”, and “Battlestar Galactica”, as well as linking Scottish, British and Australian accents, lol. Wait, did I mention I have a thing for European and European-based accents? I did? Oh, sorry then.
Part 5 of 7 > Hard-Boiled Cops, Blade Runners & Battling Angels
Oh yeah! Extending the exterminating trajectory of badass gunslingers and gunslinging badasses, let’s take a one-eyed aim at the classic Hong Kong action film “Hard Boiled” (1992), directed by John Woo, and starring Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Haha, yup, last week on 14 June 2009, I finally managed to watch what many critics consider to be “one of the greatest and most influential action films ever made”! And I can’t disagree! Not only that, Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai are so young, lol. Especially since mentioning Tony Leung in my Red Cliffs mega-cast (Blog 201, Part 3), lol. Consequently, I’d have to award the film a bullet-flying 4 of 5 stars!
In fact, here’s the front cover of the 2007 DVD-version I watched.
Here’s a similar cover including both the front and back.
Finally, here’s a famous still from the classic action film.
Now, after watching “Hard Boiled”, and noticing many of the elements that influenced later films like “Terminator” (1984), “Die Hard” (1988) and “The Matrix” (1999), I couldn’t escape one particular motif. After seeing Tony Leung’s paper cranes, I couldn’t help being reminded of the origami figures folded by Edward James Olmos in “Blade Runner” (1982). So guess what? What did I do? Immediately after finishing “Hard Boiled”, I decided to watch my old DVD copy of the classic American sci-fi film “Blade Runner – Director’s Cut” (1982, 1992), starring Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos, for the first time in years. Yup, years! Too funny. Funny how seeing Edward James Olmos’ “pimped” humanoid form and the “skin job” reference to cyborg Replicants, both reminded me of the humanoid Cylons in “Battlestar Galactica”. Even funnier how Harrison Ford’s piano managed to remind me of “Nodame Cantabile” too, lol. Funny how everything I watch is somehow related to everything else I watch! From gun battles to paper cranes to killer cyborgs!
Here’s the front cover of the 1992 “Director’s Cut” DVD-version I watched.
Next, here’s the poster of the 2007 “Final Cut” version.
Finally, here’s the front cover of the 2007 “Final Cut” DVD-version I still haven’t watched.
Coincidentally, in yet another related piece of post-apocalyptic possibilities, just a few days ago, I finally managed to finish the ninth and final volume of the original cyberpunk-splatterpunk manga series “Battle Angel Alita” (Gunnm, 1990) created, written and illustrated by Yukito Kishiro! Damn, after years of delay, I finally resumed “Angel of Chaos” (Volume 7) on 27 March 2009. Three months later, I finally finished “Angel’s Ascension” (Volume 9) on 19 June 2009! An undisputed and masterfully executed 5 of 5 stars! One of the rare manga gems I’ve ever finished, lol.
Here’s the cover of “Rusty Angel” (Volume 1), which magnetically caught by eye all those years ago, and never let go.
Ah, here’s a cool fanart wallpaper version of the manga cover.
Here’s another rustier-and-bloodier fanart version of the manga cover.
Finally, here’s an amazing 3D CG-rendered fanart version of the manga cover. Wow.
Aww, and of course, here’s a close-up of Alita herself.
The following day, on 20 June 2009, I snapped a few random photos of my “Blade Runner” DVD, “Battle Angel Alita” manga, and the FUTURO elbow and wrist supports which facilitated (and continue to facilitate) my recovery.
A slightly different angel. Oops, I meant, “angle”.
A real-life demonstration!
Whew, that was exhausting! Hard-boiled cops, blade runners and battling angels! All we need are “hard-boiled cyborgs”, and the circle will be complete, lol. Right, Vader?
Part 6 of 7 > Thankful Fridays & Tasty Sundaes
Okay, my Tireless Toyboxers, time to take a break from Japanese angels, gunslinging badasses, and angelic cyborgs, lol. Time to talk about myself! To be specific, on Friday, 19 June 2009, I decided to treat my co-worker friend Michelle with lunch to celebrate her birthday over the weekend. Where did we go for lunch? Since I was treating, I let her decide. And ultimately, she decided on “T.G.I.Friday’s”, of course! I haven’t been there in years!
I have no idea what I’m explaining in this first shot, but that “Park, Ride, Relax” sign is pretty funny.
A thoughtful pose! Check out the plane taking off beyond my windshield!
Haha, Michelle, nice motorcycle catch!
A-ha! Wearing my FUTURO elbow support, lol.
There’s the next airplane! Can you capture that?
Hehehe, there it is! Just landed on the runway!
Hey, Michelle, got enough salad?
Got enough soup? Umm, could you stop moving?
LOL, finally, that’s better.
Mmmm, my delicious salmon pasta!
My tasty French onion soup!
And finally, our free birthday sundae! Free! Awww.
Wow, that was too quick! Hmm, I think the lack of killer cyborgs had something to do with it, lol.
Part 7 of 7 > Otaku Outlook & Battling Toyboxers
Did someone say “killer cyborgs”? Nahhh, none here. Just some blog-battling otaku. Same thing? Nahhh, lol. Nonetheless, continuing our traditional otaku-blog coverage from last month’s Tales (Blog 202, Part 1) mega-cast and previous month’s Supercops (Blog 198, Part 1) mega-cast, here’s the latest batch of estimated theoretical values in the otaku blogosphere.
As you can plainly see in the first chart (enlarge if necessary), “Sankaku Complex” continues to seduce the otakusphere and reduce “Danny Choo” to a seemingly pilot-less Gundam, lol.
Meanwhile, in the second chart (enlarge if necessary), “Happy Soda” and “xJAYMANx_toybox” continue their irregular rise. However, based on these specific dozen-plus trajectories, the overall otakusphere seems generally stable.
Hehehe, now, let’s have some fun! Until now, I’ve always focussed on otaku-blog trajectories in the theoretical $5K-to-10K or $10K-to-20K range. This time, let’s focus on the theoretical $0K-to-3K range! In fact, let’s turn this into a little “game” or “race”. Why not? Why not wonder who theoretically “wins” next month? Just for fun, of course.
Let’s begin with Girl G33k (Kris-chan) at $876 USD.
18 June | Website Outlook – Girl G33k
After her is Furudango (Koshiko-chan) at $1569.50 USD.
18 June | Website Outlook – Furudango
Third is Aprilius20 (A20-man) at $2372.50 USD.
18 June | Website Outlook – Aprilius20
After him is Rhythm Emotion (Lene-chan) at $2438.20 USD.
18 June | Website Outlook – Rhythm Emotion
Fifth is One and Only Jem (Jem-chan) at $2489.30 USD.
18 June | Website Outlook – One and Only Jem
After her is The Coco Cafe (Coco-chan) at $2868.90 USD.
18 June | Website Outlook – The Coco Cafe
18 June | Website Outlook – Lovely Duckie
So who’s the theoretical $0K-to-3K winner this month? Duckie-chan is! Congratulations, Duckie-chan! I don’t know what prize you’ve actually won, but I’ll figure it out some time, lol. Remember, my Trembling Toyboxers, once your otaku-blog exceeds an estimated worth of $3K, it no longer qualifies for this so-called “race”. Just to keep it interesting, hehe. Good luck, next month!
Heyyy, how are you doing? Are you okay? Did you survive my massive 7-part 120-image cybernetic “giga-cast” this week? Did you survive my deadly barrage of Japanese angels, gunslinging badasses, angelic cyborgs and otaku bloggers for every taste? Well, I hope so! I mean, if you withstood my light-speed onslaught, then you are truly a Trooping Toyboxer! As always, let’s thank the glorious guest-starring girls who graced my broadcast! Thank you, Nodame-chan, Juri-chan, Sarah, Cameron, Shirley, Summer, Stephanie, Alita-chan, and Michelle (Happy Birthday!), as well as Kris-chan, Koshiko-chan, Lene-chan, Jem-chan, Coco-chan, and lastly, Duckie-chan (Congratulations!)… Whew, this was definitely massive. Quite a massive attack.
Till next broadcast. Peace. Out.
Nodame-chan: “Maybe a little make-up will help?”