Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Blood-C (2011)

Blood-C (2011) is a Japanese supernatural anime based on the popular Blood/Saya series in Japan. It takes place in contemporary Japan. and contains 13 episodes. In the plot, Saya seems like a normal girl living with her father in a shrine. During the day, she is a typical high school student who spends time with her friends. At night, however, she is a hunter who is called upon the sword to protect the village from strange human-eating monsters. Despite her promise to protect people, her kindness leads to misfortune as more innocent people continue to die. As a result, she suffers psychological distress and repetitive flashbacks that she cannot remember. As the story continues to unfold, Saya faces her greatest test. Furthermore, she may finally remember what she promised.

Wow, this show really surprised me. The plot was well calculated and the details of Saya's past came forth in a smooth and mind-boggling way. I loved how everything unraveled at the end of the show. The creators (CLAMP also were the art directors for Tsubasa Chronicle and Code Geass) showed clips of the last episode throughout the plot but you don't know what it means until you watch the entire show. This version is closely related to Blood: The Last Vampire. In some ways, it begins after the army base attack and describes Saya's origins. Ironically, everything about her life is part of a sick and twisted game. In the end, Saya demands vengeance for being used and discarded.

This show is NOT for the faint of heart (especially children). It is very graphic and intense action, especially the second half of the show. Although I am used to horror shows, there were moments where the senseless violence, death and blood (scenes were censored) still rattled my nerves. This show is for serious Saya / Blood fans who do not mind gore and the element of surprise. Otherwise, I recommend Blood: The Last Vampire and Blood+ (both of which I have reviews on this blogs). Both shows contain less violence and are more suitable to most PG-rated audiences.

The good news is there will be a movie that continues this storyline called Blood-C: The Last Dark. It will premiere in Japan in June 2012. The film may finally provide fans solutions to the origins of Saya. I hope it is less graphic than the TV series because the imagery can be horrific in a gore sense.

Opening Song: "Spiral" by DUSTZ

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"The Woman In Black" Film Trailer

I saw this film trailer for The Woman in Black in the movie theater, and thought this would intrigue many paranormal fans. Finally, a historical, haunted ghost film that seems worth watching. It will premiere in February 2012. Harry Potter fans will enjoy watching Daniel Radcliffe in an investigative role. Here is a short synopsis from IMDB: "Young lawyer Arthur Kipps travels to a remote village to organize a recently deceased client's papers, where he encounters the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: Blade the Animation (2011)

Blade the Animation (2011) is a Japanese supernatural anime based on the Marvel Comics. It contains 12 episodes. Erik Brooks a.k.a. Blade is a "Daywalker" vampire hunter who was born with human and vampire genes after a vampire attacked his mother, Carol, in London, England. He sought assistance from Noah Van Helsing. After years of martial arts training and medical breakthroughs to curb his thirst for blood, vampires worldwide fear him. In the beginning, he is visiting Japan on a mission: confront Deacon Frost, the vampire who killed his mother, and uncover the truth about "Existence", a mysterious organization of rogue vampires and creatures in Japan and Southeast Asia. He also makes friends and allies along his journeys.

This is the fourth Marvel Comics series that has become a Japanese anime. I was impressed with Japanese version of the show, which takes place in Asia. The actors did a great job giving the main cast some personality and humor. Blade looks awesome in this version -- he can kick ass and protect others. I am now curious to watch the previous Marvel Comics animes (X-Men, Iron Man, and Wolverine). Blade concludes the four-part Marvel Anime project. In fact, Wolverine makes a cameo appearance in one of the episodes. With intense action and good storytelling, I highly recommend the show.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie First Trailer

If you're looking for more fairy-tale action, a teaser trailer has been released for the upcoming film, Snow White and the Huntsman. It will premiere in movie theaters in Spring 2012. It is a darker abridged version of the famous children's story, where the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) ironically looks more beautiful and amazing than Snow White (sorry Twilight fans, but Kristen Stewart is, at best, average).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Micah's Magick (Elemental Witches Novella)'s Magick, by Anya Bast, is a novella based on the Elemental Witches series. Micah, a handsome research and development scientist for the Coven, lost his magick after the attack in Witch Fury. Since he can no longer use his own magick to conduct experiments. Emily Randolph, a gifted earth witch, volunteers to assist him with testing spells in the research lab. Although Micah still grieves for his loss, he continues with his work and gradually notices Emily's beauty.

Word spreads that Sefan escaped the palace in Eudae, another dimension where Coven witches have their origins. Although he lost his magick, Stefan is still a threat to all witches on Earth. Four witches -- Claire, Adam, Micah and Emily -- are chosen to capture Stefan alive in Eudae. They must find him before he starts another war with Coven Witches. In addition, Micah may discover another magick precious to him.

I was delighted to find this novella on the Internet because I always wondered when Bast would create another story. The Elemental Witches series is full of dark mystery, paranormal romance, and sexual fantasy. Each witch has a special elements (air, fire, water, and earth). Since this is free, please do not plagarize her work. I hope Bast continues to write more interesting tales about the Coven witches.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: Monster (2004-2005)

Monster (2004-2005) is a Japanese mystery animated series about a Japanese man who is determined to find the true identity of a young boy who later turned into a Monster (serial killer and psychopath) in Germany. Filled with intense mystery and lauded with praise, it contains a breath-taking 74 episodes.

Dr. Kenzou Tenma was a highly-acclaimed Japanese neurosurgeon in Germany that had it all in the 1980s: a rich and beautiful German fiancee and a promising career at Eisler Memorial Hospital in Dusseldorf. However, after becoming disenchanted by hospital politics for treating patients, he choose to save the life of a young boy who got shot in the head over the life of the mayor. His twin sister, Anna Liebert, keeps muttering about killing, and Tenma decides to operate on Johan instead of the mayor of Düsseldorf who arrived afterwards. Johan is saved, but Mayor Roedecker dies. This decision would change his life forever: he lost the support of the hospital director as well as his position in the hospital and his fiance. After his dismissal, the hospital director and the doctors that replaced him were mysteriously murdered. Both children disappear from the hospital soon after. The police suspect Tenma, as he benefits greatly from this turn of events, but they have no evidence and do not further question him.

These events placed Tenma back onto the top of his career. Nine years later, Dr. Tenma is now the Chief of Surgery at Eisler Memorial Hospital. After saving a known criminal named Adolf Junkers after being hit by a car, he hears him muttering about a "monster". Tenma extends kindness to Junkers. But Tenma did not get a easy life. Then one evening, when Dr. Tenma comes back with a clock as a gift for Junkers, he finds the guard in front of Junkers's room dead, and Junkers himself gone. Following the trail to the construction site of a half-finished building near the hospital, Tenma finds Junkers being held at gunpoint. An unknown man warns Tenma against coming closer, and pleads with him to run away. Tenma refuses, however, and the man holding the gun is revealed to be the boy whose life Tenma had saved nine years ago, Johan Liebert. Despite Dr. Tenma's attempt to reason with him, Johan shoots the criminal, tells Tenma that he could never kill the man who had saved his life, and then walks off into the night while Tenma is still too shocked to stop him.

After this incident, Tenma is again suspected by the police, particularly Inspector Runge, and he tries to find more information about this "Johan". He soon discovers that the boy's sister, now named Nina, is happily living the life of an adopted daughter to two caring parents. Tenma discovers her and manages to prevent her from meeting her brother, but comes too late to stop Johan from murdering her foster parents. As the story progresses, the origins of this monster emerge in the former East Germany, using a secret orphanage called 511 Kinderheim (where Johan came from) to create the "perfect soldiers" through "psychological reprogramming." It seems that the boy Tenma saved was much more than he had appeared to be. After learning the scope of the atrocities committed by the Monster, Tenma must clear his name and correct his past mistake: he must investigate the truth of the Monster and end it once and for all.

Monster is one of the few gems in Japanese anime history that is worthy of every praise and excellence. I didn't know what to expect when I watched the first episode, but the suspenseful and puzzling plot drew me closer to the characters. I sympathized with Tenma and Anna Liebert for wanting to end the Monster. I had to know how this series would end. Taking place in Germany and the Czech Republic, this superb investigative drama felt so real that it kept me curious each time. Although it took over a year to finish (74 episodes!), I am grateful that I took a chance on this series. I highly recommend it because it was very entertaining and well-done for the adult mystery genre. I also loved the symbolism in the opening and ending music.

There are discussions in remaking this anime into a live-action Hollywood film. Hopefully, it receives the green light for production.

Ending Song #1: "For The Love of Life" by David Sylvian (eps 1-32)

Ending Song #2: "Make It Home" by Fujiko Heming (eps 33-74)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One Film Trailer

In less than two weeks, the latest Twilight Saga film, Breaking Dawn Part One, will premiere in movie theaters on Friday, November 18, 2011. Watch the trailer below:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires #2)

Some things are best left in the dark.

So now my "master" -- centuries-old yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan -- wants me to reconnect with my own upper-class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires...and to keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn't want people and vamps to play nicey-nice -- someone with an ancient grudge.

Friday Night Bites, by Chloe Neill, is the second novel in the Chicagoland Vampires series. Several months later, Merit is learning her new role role as Sentinel (guardian) of Cadogan House. She is strong and beautiful with a major appetite for all foods based in Chicago! Vampires are the latest celebrities in the Windy City -- paparazzi and news reporters want the latest buzz about their undead residents. Although the public isn't thrilled about their supernatural residents, anxious and disgruntled feelings have appeared to subside.

However, that will change when news spread about the Raves, mass feeding parties where vampires drink blood excessively from humans. A news reporter from an elite Chicago family has a serious grudge against vampires and wants to publish this information to the public. Meanwhile, Ethan Sullivan, Master of Cadogan House, wants to use Merit to re-connect with the Chicago upper-class to gather intelligence and alliances. To make matters worse, the shifters are convening in Chicago to settle their futures among humans.

Magic is rising, and war may loom on the horizon. Her relationship with Morgan, recently promoted Master of Navvare House, is not working and her friendship with Mallory is on the brink of disaster. Can Merit discover the assailant behind the threats against the supernatural? Can Merit come to terms with her own vampire identity? How will she handle betrayal and loss? Only you can find out in Friday Night Bites.

Finally, another book about Merit! Neill introduces readers with more supernatural characters. The plot was enjoyable with some sneak peaks on Merit's family, childhood friends and new identity as Sullivan's partner a.k.a. vampire investigator and guardian. I believe there is some chemistry between the two, but their relationship will slowly progressed until Ethan recognizes what he desires most. The ending includes a major surprise by an enemy character in the previous novel that Neill may not address until later in the series. Let's just say that Merit finally understands why she must become stronger in mind and body. The next novel will focus on the shape-shifters in Chicago.

A major pet peeve about this novel is that the author criticizes Michigan with references like "No one wants to visit Detroit!". As a Michigan native, that hurt because it came across as if the state is some backwater region (when it has a better quality of life than some states below the Mason-Dixon line). I will let it slide, but sometimes I do wonder where does Neill's loyalties lie (the Midwest or New York).

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Chicagoland Vampires series, Twice Bitten.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Michigan's Dogman Coming to Silver Screen in 2012

The Detroit Free Press describes the Dogman below:
Strong, lean muscles strain under dark fur. Teeth and fangs flash beneath demonic eyes. A growl emerges as he rises to stand on his hind legs, stretching to more than 7 feet tall.

He is the Dogman, a legend of the vast Michigan woods, described with remarkable consistency by hunters, farmers and even the occasional motorist in reported encounters that date back centuries.

You can read more about the legends behind the Michigan Dogman on Absolute Michigan. The upcoming film will hit theatres nationwide in 2012. Stay tuned for more updates.

What do you know about the Michigan Dogman?