Thursday, April 16, 2009

Human tetris is spreading wide

Who among you has not laughed at the Japanese TV Show "Human Tetris?" I mean, come one, who are they kidding, those poses are impossible. Some of them require a lack of limbs. Some of them require the ability to fly....

...but in the Netherlands, they require a bikini.

That's right, the Japanese sensation is spreading across the globe. It started when the producers of Big Brother 3 decided to start the Australian version, and next thing you know, the damn show is spreading across the globe like a wildfire.

Next thing you know, you'll be turning on ESPN and watching dudes taking nutshots for saying a sentence wrong at lightning speed. Actually, when you're watching ESPN these days, you're seeing not much more than POKER anymore, so maybe it'd be an improvement.

Well, I'd rather hoped my Japanese brethren would keep their love for punishment shows within their borders, but it doesn't look like they have much of a choice. Hopefully they're getting some royalties out of the deal, eh. Last thing we need is some pissed off Japanese producer; he'd probably come up with something so unbelievably painful that it would hurt us just to watch it.

I thought that when Extreme Elimination Challenge, Ninja Warrior, and many other shows started bleeding onto American TV that it was going to continue the trend of taking the actual footage from the show and adding translations (some of course just for gags), but now it appears that we're going to start remaking them. Just remember that I warned you when you start seeing Karaoke shows with people that will stop at nothing to prove that....

Oh wait, we already have American Idol!

I give the Australian producers an F for fail. They should have just brought the show into their own country instead of remaking it. Now look what they've done. People seriously gotta learn that actions have consequences.

Of course, I give Japanese human tetris an A+ for awesomeness. I also give the nutshot show I was refering to an A because, man, those guys have to be mentally incability of distinguishing good ideas from bad ones...and I get to laugh at them the whole time

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dragon Ball Evolution

I know it's only been a few days since my last movie review, but some of my friends here in South Korea said, "Hey, man, let's go see the new Dragon Ball Movie," and having been an avid Dragon Ball Z fan in my past, I said, "OKAY." I wanted to comment here on this blog while the movie was still fresh in my mind.

If you watched Dragon Ball might get some enjoyment from the movie. However, If you like Dragon Ball, don't watch this movie. If you've never seen Dragon Ball, don't watch this movie. If you like decently written movies, don't watch this movie. If you like action films, don't watch this movie. If you hate cheesey teen flicks were there's all that high school angst, don't watch this movie. Maybe, if you really like really badly done Science Fiction movies, and have never heard of Dragon Ball before, then it might be okay to watch this movie.

This movie is only 1hour and 30 minutes long, including the ending and opening credits. That's a problem, because in the end, there's really only one hour of movie, which is like one episode of the wire or two episodes of Samurai Champloo. I would have rather watched those then this movie.

Within 10 minutes of the movie starting, I was already bored. First off, Goku is 18, not a kid. This is a problem. Secondly, Goku is in school, which, we all know, he never was. Thirdly, Goku's "grandfather" is apparently one of Master Roshi's trainies, so he's preparing Goku to learn the Kamehameha wave. What the...!!

Basically, after I suspended my disbelief for a moment, Goku's grandfather gives Goku a dragon ball and tells him about them. He tells him all about how there are seven and how if you collect them all, then "you're greatest wish will come true." Okay, now we're just messing up the entire story.

Meanwhile, Piccolo is a bad guy. That's fine, he was in Dragon Ball as well, but apparently, he's the last survivor of the Namekian invasion of Earth 2000 years ago....Now we all know that Piccolo and the Namek people didn't come out until DBZ, so they are obviously messing with the story at this point. Besides the fact that the people of Namek seemed to be a fairly peaceful race in DBZ, so why the hell would they want to invade earth? AND, if Goku is going to talk about them, at least teach the actor how to pronounce the damn word.

Anyway, so Goku knows all about the people of Namek (or Nimik as he says), and we are supposed to believe then that he has no idea that he is Saiyan. Okay, fine. But the fact that he's explaining this to his teacher in his school while Chichi is sitting three desks away looking attractive in her modern style clothing and his hair has waaaay to much Gel (that's how they get the Goku hair look on him) is really hard for me to swallow.

The movie continues by messing up everything dragon ball all the way till the credits. We get to see Bulma (who is at least a little in character), Yamcha (without a scar but still the desert bandit thank God), Roshi (without his turtle hermit shell), Sifu Norris (replacing Mr. Popo as the token black man), Piccolo (who apparently has cool technology that lets his spawn mini-versions or allow him to make his people look like whoever), Mai (who's apparently Piccolo's bitch), and Chichi (who is apparently like the popular girl at school, with a crew of half-wit rich kids who "protect" her from losers like Goku despite the fact that she likes him).

So, at the end of the movie, I felt profoundly stupid. They tried to cram 84 episodes of Dragon Ball into one hour, which basically meant that the didn't really do or say anything. No, they're trying to beat the clock as the world will end if Piccolo get all the balls together before the solar Eclipse, because that's when "Oosaru" (which is Japanese for Great Monkey for those of you not in the know) will arise and join Piccolo's army, and together they will make a wish to destroy the world. And apparently, Piccolo knows Goku's secret. How could he not though? Apparently, Monkey Goku is also one of Piccolo's bitches. But on top of that, the dialogue sucked, the story sucked, the make-up sucked...about the only cool with this movie was the CGI. If it had just been CGI, it probably would have been better.

In the end, there was no Krilin, but there was a fire mountain, which Roshi does not put out with his Kamehameha wave. No, if you are a fan of Dragon Ball, you will likely sit through the movie getting all the references that other movie goers are missing, but not enjoying a damn minute of it. Then you would turn to me and say, "Ah, I get what you mean now" because I will be staring off into space with you.

I give this movie an F for "FAIL" and for seriously being teh leet suxxor. Watching it was about as much fun as shoving razor blades under my fingernails.

Friday, March 27, 2009

CROWS Becomes Live Action Movie

It has been a long time since a review has come up on this page, but I think it's due time, despite the fact that I'm beginning to think that this group is dead. But, since I'm wanting to keep it alive, I'll post for posterity's sake.

Maybe many of you are already familiar with the comic book "Crows" by Hiroshi Takahashi. It's the prequal comic to the one titled "Worst" by the same author, and takes place in the same chaos driven, criminally deliquent school as Worst. And just like Worst, the kids don't just fight to survive, they fight to win.

"Crows" is about a transfer study who comes to Suzuran High School and gets himself involved in a power struggle that occuring. But to top matters off, despite being the new guy, he declares that he's going to become the top of the school for reasons that don't make sense at first.

The movie, however, follows a different plot-line, one much more reminiscent of "Worst" then of CROWS, and follows a different set of characters, but is generally the same story. Released in 2007 (thus being a few years old), it is named "Crows Zero," supposedly being the prequal story even to "Crows" itself.

The question becomes, with all these prequal stories, why wasn't the story just told in chronological order in the first place. I guess that's what happens when you create something and then realize you've completely ruined any chance of sequals.

But the movie follows the character Genji Takaya as he arrives at Suzuran and declares he will be the king of the high school by boldly erasing the name of Tamao Serizawa, who has already made the same claim. The thing is, Serizawa has already got things in motion, which means that Genji has got a lot of work to do.

Armed with a Yakuza friend, named Ken, whose crew he beats down on the first day of school, Genji begins to bring down leaders and gaining an army in the name of surpassing Serizawa and taking Suzuran by force.

However, Serizawa could easily take the school if he didn't have a problem with some of the leaders, like the head of a vicious biker gang, or the guy who just won't give up no matter how much they beat him, and so he watches as Genji takes down his problems one by one. As Genji assends, Serizawa's job just keeps getting easier.

Unfortunately for Serizawa, his best friend has a tumor and is dying, which distracts him from the task at hand, leaving his captains in charge of the gang. But his captains have a different plan in mind; they're not just going to sit around and watch as Genji takes the school. Using some very subtle and very diabolical tactics, they begin to destroy Genji's crew, even taking his girlfriend hostage and threatening her life, all the while covering their own tracks.

Genji's world begins to spiral out of control, but he slowly learns the meaning behind Suzuran High School and the reason why the teachers and the government let it stay the way it is. And as he learns the meaning for Suzuran High, he begins to realize what's important, and being the King doesn't seem to matter anymore...

I give this film an A+ for great writing, amazing action sequences, romancing of the criminal underworld, and being one of the best Comic-to-film Live Action Movies I've ever seen. With completely different characters than the comic, you have to accept it as a completely different film, and when you do so, you will not be dissapointed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Comic World Busan - October Convention

So this last weekend was the Anime convention in Busan, and as a resident genius on this kind of thing, I knew that I had to hit this up for the Nerd Evolution blog. If nothing else than to make another entry in my Korean Nerd Culture Watch segment. This particular convention is held every two months, so I took this opportunity to check it out and find out just what the Koreans think of when they think of anime. What I discovered was that it wasn't too far off from what we in America preceive, which is much the same as what is produced out of Japan.

We arrived at the Bexco center with the most open minds and with the most heartfelt intentions and were pleasantly surprised to find a large number of people participating in cosplay. We milled around for a while outside the convention and met some people in costumes, but quickly discovered that there were few fact, we 5 made up 50% of the foreigners at the convention, which made it easy for us to stop people and ask them some questions, about themselves and their costumes. Mostly, we just took that as an opportunity to get some really good pictures.

It was 4000 won to get inside the convention doors, which was a reasonable price (which is about $3 in the current market) but then I found that the convention mostly consisted of Fan-made items, all of which costing between 3,000-7,000 won (t-shirts I think were 10,000), which basically meant that they had me at the door, and then they had me at every turn. But it was okay, we enjoyed ourselves, but the convention definitely isn't for someone going on a tight budget. (Well, maybe that's not the case when you think about how I could have bought everything I wanted for under $50 total dollars). However, for you tight wads like myself, you can walk around and enjoy the cosplayers...maybe even pay 1,000 won (less than a dollar) for a hotdog in crazy grey bun covered in lettuce and ketchup.

Here's the slideshow I made of our experience. For those of you wondering, the song is "Oh My Friend" by Big Bang.

Basically, the average age of the crowd was 14 or 15 years old and consisted of lots of cosplay and lots of fan-made materials. It meant that there was a large amount of Yaoi (for those interesting in such things) and a whole lot of milling around and talking. It was fun to get out and see all the people getting worked up about comics and anime, but it definitely wasn't a Sakuracon or a Comicon. But then, I hear that the anime convention held in Seoul every month is more like those kinds of big name american conventions, and that this Busan one was kinda like the younger brother. Well, Busan is the second largest city in Korea, it only follows that it's convention is the second largest as well...

However, I have a theory that if the convention was held only once a year like Comicon, Dragoncon or Sakuracon, then it probably would have been different. Much bigger build up, many more events, and probably would have had a competition or two. Needless to say, it's definitely something you visit once, but I think I'll save up for Seoul's animation convention, which is much more about the animation side of things, and much less about the animations themselves, but I heard basically kicks a whole lot of ass.

In the end, I give the Busan Comic World festival a C, because it was averagely fun. Kinda sucky in some parts, but there were some really cool costumes to oogle at.

See you later, cowboys.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comic book Convenience Store

Okay, so this is the third installment of Korean Nerd Culture Watch, and this particular segment has to do with the picture posted at the head of this blog. Look at it again, very very carefully. See something off? Is that Dried Squid hanging there, and are those foodstuff in front of the VHS tapes?

The answer: YES (and the VHS tapes thing is a whole different commentary that I may or may not get into later).

That's right, this particular comic book corner market is actually a convenience store just across the street from the University of Ulsan dormitories. Apparently (and this is purely gleened for a basic understanding of the Korean language) the place lends them out to people, like a library, who have payed a 10,000won deposit (which is $10 in the States) to make sure that they can cover any books that get taken and never returned. But basically, you can borrow to your hearts content and read them for up to a week (or two I was a little fuzzy on that) before they start charging you late fees, but almost no one accrues a late fee. Now this is friggin' awesome, because you can borrow your favorite comics and then return them once you are done.

I find this is great for the college peoples, because that means they don't have a ton of comics cluttering their shelves and stuff, because that can get annoying. I mean, I like to own my comics and not borrow them (usually) but as any nomadic or semi-nomadic comic enthusiast can tell you, sometimes it's just annoying to lug all those books around. Especially when you realize that once you've read through them, you don't read through a lot of them again, especially if the story starts to blow in the end (and I reference GTO and Saint Seiya....that's right, hate me if you will, but come on, it really did start to blow and you know it).

So, who's skeptical about this being a full on convenience store? Well, here's another picture to prove it:

Any Questions?

Anyway, apparently this isn't that common in Korea, but common enough that my roommate knew all about it. Right friggin' on. I feel like the luckiest bastard in Nerd Evolution history, mostly because I live so close to the store that it's nothing, and secondly, if you look carefully you might see some of the more popular comics on the shelves, like Bleach, Deathnote and One-piece.

MWAHAHA. I give this store a BIG FAT A+ for innovation. And their prices are good along with some very happy workers who definitely love Americans.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Starcraft TV

Back when I was in Middle School, Starcraft had just came out and I was trying my best to get a copy of it, but I was failing miserably. It seemed like the game to get and everyone was in love with it, but then, a few years later, when I was finally able to start playing the game, I found out that only the really nerdy people played it anymore...and that's because it required lots of thought. I wonder if it would have been different if we had a channel on TV that talked us through strategies, then maybe it wouldn't be as nerdy...

..but then what would talk about here in our blog?

So, as part of my second installment of NERD CULTURE WATCH in Korea, I thought it very pertinent to bring up Starcraft TV. In Korea, there is like 4 channels dedicated to gaming, and I don't mean like America's G4, but more like 100% of the programming is games. Not commentary on games, not game conventions, but people playing the games and voice overs explaining what they are doing. One of these channels runs Starcraft 24 hours a day. Nothing but starcraft all the time. It's strange, but watching it can be fascinating when you have nothing else to do for a couple of hours.

Here's a glimpse of Starcraft TV.

Basically, if you want to touch up on the newest strategies--or you just want to watch a buttload of terrans get zerg rushed--then turn your Korean TV dials to MBC GAME and you've got yourself 24 starcraft fest.

If you don't want starcraft, try the other gaming channels, they've got WoW, Lineage, Go, and other games on there too. Personally, I'll just keep watching the starcraft channel, mostly because that's a lot more interesting than watching someone play an MMORPG for 16 hours straight. I mean, sure I can play an MMORPG for 16 hours straight, but watching someone else do it when I could just go ahead and do it myself, well, that's just pushing the envelope.

I give the Starcraft channel a B, because sometimes their explainations are a little junkie. But it's a great idea and just goes to show you how much Korea is in with the Nerd Crowd.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Unbeknownst to some of you audiencey-types, I'm actually living in South Korea right now, and since this blog has experienced a rejuvination of sorts, I figured it was time that I make a post. I know, that destroys our entire scheme of 2 a month, but what the hell, it's September where I'm at. Actually, it'll probably post just fine when I actually finish this thing.

Anyway, so I know you all may be wondering what the hell a PC bang (pronounced BONG like the thing you smoke with) is, and I answer: A giant friggin' room where every korean person and their brother goes to play Starcraft. Okay, not just Starcraft, but WoW, Counter-strike, Portal, Lineage, Monster Hunter: Frontiers (that new MMORPG only in Asia) and so on. It's like the gaming nerds wet dream.

And who wouldn't be friggin' impressed with it? I mean, its like 20+ computers all LANned up and loaded with everyone's favorite shoot 'em, kill 'em, build and destroy 'em games, all for 1000 won an hour. Ah, that's the catch isn't it. Yeah, it costs you $1 every hour, but who wouldn't shell out a buck an hour to kill, maim, and utterly destroy their best friends in the most humiliating way possible? I don't know anyone. I mean, if you think about it, how much does it cost you play a game of Street Fighter at the arcade anymore? 50 cents, a dollar. And how long do you last? Two minutes, maybe three if you're lucky.

But lets say WoW, CS, and Starcraft just aren't your thing? (What the hell are you doing in a PC Bang then) Well, you can still use the computer for T1 speed internet access to check your email, chat with your friends, or generally just surf your favorite sites. The best part about a PC bang is that there's also food somewhere in the room that you can munch on for a small fee. At some of the higher scale places, you can even order it from the computer and have it brought to you when its done being microwaved, cooked, or taken out of the fridge. They just charge it to your bill at the end and WAM! you've had yourself a good old time.

Now, I know a PC bang doesn't technically fall under our category of stuff we talk about here at Nerd Evolution, but it is the place to be if you are a PC gamin' nerd, so I thought it was pertinent to discuss. I mean, if I were taking a trip to Korea (psst which I am) I would like to know where I can get my relatively cheap gaming fix.

So, I give the PC Bang an A+ for freakin' awesomeness.

Oh, and I give the food at a PC Bang a C (be careful, some of it will kill you)