Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Tsukihime Lunar Legend (2006)

Tsukihime Lunar Legend (2006) is a Japanese supernatural horror anime show. It takes place in contemporary Japan. The show can be very graphic, so viewer discretion is advised. It also contains 12 episodes.

Shiki Tohno is a second-year high school student. In his childhood, he suffered a life-threatening injury. When he regained consciousness, he could see "death lines" (Mystic Eyes of Death Perception) which allowed him to slash and kill objects with perfect accuracy. However, this new ability gives him major headaches and weakens his overall strength. He wears eyeglasses so that he cannot see the death lines and live a normal life. After this incident, he was forced to live with distant relatives. Eight years later, he was summoned to return to the Tohno family house. There, he has a sister, Akiha Tohno, who has assumed responsibility of the household after the death of their father. With two personal maids, the Tohno family come from a wealthy background. As a result, Shiki has difficulty adjusting back to this traditional lifestyle.

On his way home, he meets a mysterious blonde woman with red eyes in the park. He later finds out her name is Arcueid Brunestud, a very old vampire princess whom he "murdered" using his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. However, he does not remember the incident. Since his skills are highly useful, Arcueid recruits him to help her fight Roa. She is in a much weaker state (she can only use 30% of her power) and uses the remaining power to suppress her vampiric urges (e.g. need for blood). Meanwhile, Shiki notices his classmate, Ciel, has supernatural abilities and often rescues him when trouble arises. He later founds out Ciel used to be Roa's vessel in a previous reincarnation and fights for the Church to regain her humanity.

As Shiki helps Arcueid with her supernatural cases, he also investigates the lineage of the Tohno household. When he discovers Akiha drinking blood from one of the maids, he is determined to understand what really happened eight years ago. This will put him in very dangerous territory. Will he survive long enough to uncover the truth?

I found this series on Anime News Network when I was looking for similar titles under subject terms "vampires" and "horror" and "supernatural." Although this show is short, the plot was very interesting and suspenseful. There were times when I often questioned Shiki's behavior because he can come across as indifferent and uncaring although the accident left him mentally paralyzed. The level of action picks up dramatically in the last few episodes when Shiki fights the new reincarnation of Roa, which also answers many secrets about the Tohno family. The ending is also emotional when one of the main characters dies. Overall, it you are looking for a short and serious vampire anime, then I highly recommend this show.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4)

"By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargaiend for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan--and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close rlationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.

It'll be her friends."

Bone Crossed, by Patricia Briggs, is the fourth novel in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy, a coyote shapeshifter, is learning to move on because she survived one of the darkest periods in her entire life: rape victim. Meanwhile, she receives an unexpected guest in her home. Stefan, a vampire friend who appears nearly shaken, drained and decomposed, needs blood fast. Fortunately, two alpha werewolves (Adam and Samuel) are with her to help him. Worse, Mercy discovers a huge magical bone-crossed painting on her garage store. It is a warning from Marsilia, the Vampire Queen in her area, that she is a traitor and they are watching her. When one member of Adam's pack nearly dies in an event instigated by the vampires, Mercy realizes her own friends are also targets.

Fearing for her safety, the werewolves perssuade her to leave the Tri-Cities and investigate a haunting in her best friend's house in Spokane, Oregon until they can resolve the local situation. A healthy Stefan agrees to protect her from the other vampires. What she did not expect is that an ancient vampire, known as the Monster, is responsible for the hauntings and terrors inflicted upon her friend's family. He is the most powerful vampire she has ever encountered. Can Mercy defeat the Monster and save her friends in the Tri-Cities?

I enjoyed this novel very much. Briggs is a very talented writer who can combine subplots and different supernatural characters smoothly. There is plenty of action, humor and suspense that keeps you wanting more. Like Harris, Briggs explores the supernatural world in depth: fae, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and shapeshifters. Most importantly, I like the way Briggs explores Mercy's vulnerable side. Although she acts like a heroine, she also has feelings and thoughts too. She is a good person who thinks highly of her friends' well-being.

Since this novel was short (~300 pages), I finished it in four days. What surprised me was how Adam made her a member of the pack so quickly. Although I knew he wanted to protect her, this may cause more problems for her since she is not a werewolf. As his official mate, she will have to adjust to her new role in the pack. The next novel will actually discuss this ordeal for Mercy. Overall, I highly recommend this series. Good series with werewolves are hard to find these days.

Stay tuned for the fifth novel in the Mercy Thompson series, Silver Borne.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Daily Mail: Boy, 13, Struck by Lightning on Friday the 13th

Yikes! Talk about major bad luck. From the UK's Daily Mail:
LONDON (Aug. 15) -- Friday the 13th proved especially unlucky for one 13-year-old British boy, who was struck by lightning at exactly 13:13 on the much-feared date.

The teenager was among a crowd of 170,000 people watching an aeronautical display at the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in the east of England when he was zapped by a bolt from the sky, reported The Mirror. He suffered minor burns and is expected to make a full recovery.

Now you know why people fear Friday the 13th. He is very lucky to be alive!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Winston Churchill and UFO Conspiracy

There is an conspiracy theory spreading on the Internet that Winston Churchill, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, held classified reports about a possible UFO during World War II.
It's a conspiracy theory worthy of the "X-Files," and it goes like this: Churchill, then the prime minister, apparently ordered a cover-up of an encounter between a Royal Air Force bomber and an unidentified flying object during World War II. The reason: Churchill feared that news of the incident would create public panic and a loss of faith in religion.

He ordered that the information about the possible UFO incident remain secret for a period of 50 years. Decades later, people now have access to these files and the new information (e.g., photos, reports) is quite profound and alarming.

Check out the video below: