Baccano! Review

baccano-ennis_00415995

 

Hello yous wise guys, and welcome to my review of Baccano! Remember, it’s all in the family. And by family, I mean ‘the family’, get what I’m talkin’ about? You know, the organization?

Hello, My name is John Juliano, and this show is about the mafia. La Cosa Nostra. Organized crime as it exists on the east coast of the united states, which incidentally a relative of mine moved to New York from Sicily several generations ago. The story is told in the movie The Sicilian. This is not that movie.

The interesting thing about this story, or one of many, is that it has neither a beginning, middle, and ending, or a main character. Every character is treated with near equal importance, and the story is told in a chaotic, anachronic fashion which really lends itself well to the chaotic tale. The word Baccano even means ‘a great and lively ruckus.’ It fits rather well.

The premise is that hundreds of years ago, the denizens of a certain boat were granted immortality by a demon, and the ability to literally consume or eat each other by laying a hand on the other’s head. Before long, one of them actually begins doing this so that he alone will have immortality. Cut back to modern time, and several of these people has found ways to bestow this gift to others, and as a result, the upper echelons of at least two new york crime families can sling as much lead as they want at eachother with no ill effects.

Also, there is a train which many of these people are on, there is an immortal man who gets put in concrete boots and dumped in the Hudson, and a kid by the name of Jacuzzi Splot. Baccano indeed.

The animation is always frenetic, as is the music. For this show, I am going to mention something I rarely mention, voice acting. In Japanese it is good, but in English it is extraordinary. So many perfect accents it’s easy to forget most of these people are from Texas. The energy is intense, much like the two monsters I drank in the last 30 seconds.

If this show has any flaws, it is that it’s premise does not promote much focus. I am cool with this, but it will leave many confused. So much happens in it’s short run time, and to so many people, that it’s like watching a hurricane, or better yet a train crash. Still, Baccano is one wild ride.

At the end of the day I struggled with Baccano’s score. I would award it higher, but the average person may be more confused by the premise than I was. Finally, I settled, and I award Baccano an 8 out of 10, and a strong recommendation. Very strong. I will see you all next time on Nerdshit Reviews!

Advertisements

Toradora Review

maxresdefault

 
Why does anime keep looking at me like that? It’s not as if I like anime or something. That’s impossible.

Hello and welcome to Nerdshit reviews, and on the agenda for today is Toradora, the tale of perfectly well adjusted girl with no anger issues torment by the biggest jerk in the universe. That may not be entirely accurate, but who’s counting?

On a more serious note, this show is about Ryuji, a kind young man with the face of his yakuza father, who accidentally receives a love letter meant for his best friend from a famously dangerous girl in his school named Taiga. Taiga attacks him to get the letter, but relents when he promises to help her get with the target of her affection. Soon, the two develop an interdependent relationship, as they live close(next door), and Ryuji is a great cook and homemaker, unlike Taiga, who forces him to cook and clean for her.

Before long we come to realize that Taiga’s closest friend is the object of Ryuji’s affection, and that is where things become really interesting. The interactions between these four characters never fails to be completely hilarious. They feel like people you might know.
This is why, when things take a turn for the dramatic and deeply sad later, it hits so incredibly hard, at least for me. You can really feel for these people, and one scene in particular may be the saddest I’ve seen not involving a character death. It definitely kept me watching, and destroyed my Christmas.

The animation of the series has its moment, but due to the slice of life nature of the show it is usually fairly average, The music’s over all slightly above average, but is drop dead gorgeous at least a couple of times. It is a key(one of many) to the show’s greatest success, its deep understanding of human emotion.

So, at the end of the day, this show is a rare animal. It is a romance, set in an ordinary world, that does what so few shows can do, makes the audience genuinely feel something. I was riveted to the screen for much of it, and I have never really been a romance guy. The show is available to view for free on crunchyroll, and comes recommended. Over all, I award Toradora an 8 out of 10. See you next time!

Snowcrash Review

snow-crash-featured1-560x416

 

Surprise! I review books too!

What is a language? What is a religion? What is a virus? Are they all separate, or different ways of looking at, and saying, the same thing? A book is defined by the questions it forces readers to ask. These are a few I was forced to ask by the novel Snowcrash, by Neil Stephenson. The ridiculously entertaining book about Hiroaki Protagonist, (Hiro for short) hacker and pizza delivery boy for the mafia, is also one of the deepest, if not the deepest, novel of any genre I have so far read.

L. Bob Rife (Ron Hubbard on large amount of crack and meth) has basically taken over the world by buying on the fiber optics networks, basically monopolizing the internet, phone, and cable industries. Then he went into religion, spreading a type of Pentecostal Christianity defined by speaking in tongues, and developed what’s called the raft, a massive makeshift floating city tied to his yacht, to ferry refugees from the old world to the new.

When Hiro loses his job with the mafia thanks to a mail carrier on a skateboard named YT, he and she begin to look into Rife for the library of congress, which is basically now the repository of all human knowledge which anyone can contribute to. Along with Juanita, Hiro’s ex girlfriend, they embark. YT handles the real world, and Hiro handles the metaverse, a matrix-like cyber world which he helped create, and which basically predicted the VR goggles of today. Thanks to being an excellent swordsman and carrying two Japanese katana, he can be useful in both worlds.

On the other side, we have raven, an Aleutian wale hunter who wields glass knives sharp enough to cut Kevlar, and rides a Harley with a nuke in the side car. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds. The story gets going when Hiro’s best friend and Juanita’s new lover ignores her advice, and takes a file from Raven which turns out to be a virus which affects the human nervous system by showing him a bitmap that looks like a snowcrashed computer screen. It renders him unable to speak in anything but incoherent babble. Hiro contacts a linguist named Lago, a madman who hands over his research shortly before raven guts him.

Through the research, and with the help of the computer generated librarian, hiro dives into Sumerian mythology and comes to realize that the entire world is in danger, hackers especially. The binary codes they use affect neural pathways and make them easier targets.

The stuff about language, religion, viruses, and Sumeria is truly interesting and fantastically done. The world building is like looking through a window in a time machine its so well done. The extraordinary level of detail is hard to oversell. Truly a book everyone should be reading.

I do not know that it is available anywhere to read free, but I’ve seen it at several libraries. That’s a good place to start. It needs a show or movie, but doesn’t have one as of yet. Mr. Stephenson’s other works are also great. I award snowcrash a well deserved 9 out of 10. See you next time, and don’t let the nam shub into your systems.

Welcome to The NHK Review

welcome-to-the-nhk-2

 

Its a conspiracy! It’s all a conspiracy!

Typically, when people watch a television show, they expect likeable characters to whom they can relate. If this is you, turn back now. The characters in this show were certainly relatable to me, but that says more about me than about them. A Lot more.

To understand this show, you must understand the japanese concept of a hikikomori. It is a person, who for whatever reason, does not leave their room for work, school, or socialization. Basically, a reclusive failure of a human being. Sato, our protagonist, is such a person. He is also a college drop out and mildly schizophrenic, who believes his entire life is an alien conspiracy to force this condition on him. He get better. Very, very slowly.

Most of the other characters are not much better, but the charm of the show is how it humanizes these despicable people, and makes you root for them. Sato meets a girl who claims she can cure his hikikomori illness, and things get going. He vehemently denies being any kind of hikikomori, and claims he spends so much time in his room designing a game. He is a creator, as he proclaims at the top of his lungs.

To protect his lie, he enlists the help of his next store neighbor, who happens to be his highschool friend Yamazaki, who has become a porn obsessed otaku. The two begin working on a gal game, basically an electronic porn novel. This is, again, to show a girl he is beginning to like.

There is another girl too, his former class president who got him involved in conspiracy theories. The dynamic between the three is fascinating, though the latter’s fiance would disagree. Everyone in this show has serious problems, just like the viewers. It is definitely not escapist entertainment fair. Which is refreshing.

The animation is hit or miss, par for the course from studio gonzo. Occasionally very fluid, and occasionally like watching a 2 year old having an epileptic fit. It’s at its best when Sato is having delusional fantasies about talking furniture or alien creatures watching his every movie. The music is more consistent, and the song yamazaki plays constantly will get stuck in your head forever.

At the end of the day, Welcome to the NHK is enjoyable, but flawed, with a very specific viewership. Often hilarious, and even more often depressing, it comes with a Nerd shit seal of approval. I award the biography of John juliano, Wait I meant Welcome to the NHK a 7.5 of 10. Remember, it’s all a conspiracy!

Until the next time!

Stein’s;gate review

steinsgate

 
Greetings! It is I, Hyouin Kyouma! Mad anime reviewer, on a desperate mission! I must hurry, for the organization is hot on my trail now. I am sure of it! El Psy Congru!

Ok, that’s enough of that for now. Hello again everybody desperate enough for entertainment to read this. John Juliano here, back with a brand new Nerd Shit Review! This time, we will be taking a look at one of my favourite shows of all time, Stiens;Gate, the story of a college student with delusions of grandeur who believes himself to be a real life mad scientist. Okabe Rintaro, known as Okarin to his friends and a Hyouin Kyouma to his own damaged mental state, runs an impromptu secret lab out of his apartment with his best friends Daru and Mayushi. They attend various scientific conferences, and at one in particular, he meets a woman named Makise Kurisu, who he later sees murdered. Seconds later, everything changes, and he finds himself back in his lab, before he ever left.

He finds the event cancelled due to a mysterious accident, but at the time thinks nothing of it. Instead he continues working on his latest mad science invention, a way to use a cellphone to activate a microwave. He places a banana in the microwave, and when he activates it with the cell phone, a mysterious burst of energy is released. He finds the banana turned into a jelly-like substance, but reattached to the bunch. Somehow, through forces the show explains much better, the cell phone microwave (temporary name) appears to be a time machine.

After all of this, Okabe, daru, and mayuri the adorable embark on science based hijinks joined by a no longer dead Kurisu and a host of loveable side characters. The show’s science aspect become surprisingly good, with commentary on the condensing effect of time travel on matter, and the inherent dangers it presents. The way they counter this is interesting as well, sending data rather than matter through time, so that all a person’s thoughts and memories show up in the mind of their younger self, with only Okabe being aware of the change. Slowly, Okabe’s irrational fears of a secret organization come to fruition, as he was not the only one interested in time travel.

Visually and musically this show is also very good. The music in particular stands out, with various themes lending a wonderful atmosphere. If the show has one flaw, and all shows do, it’s that in the early parts it becomes bogged down in a pseudo-harem scenario where all the girls seem to have a thing for Okabe. One of them is not even actually female, but rather a very feminine boy. Its irritating, but it passes.

All in all, an excellent show. The early installment strangeness may put some off of this show, but just hold on and it’s well worth the ride. A 9 out of 10, though my bias for the hard sciences may push it up. Both it and its sequel still airing, stein’s;gate 0 are available for free on crunchyroll. Check back soon for more nerd shit reviews! Such is the will of the stein’s;gate!

Bakemonogatari review

 

bakemonogatari_1920_06

 

Author’s note: I try not to spoil too much, but some is only natural. Read at your own risk!

Fuck this show is weird. See you all next week!

In all seriousness though, bakemonogatari, and its sequel nisemonogatari, both based on graphic novels of the same title, are possibly the strangest franchise in anime when taken together. Even separate they are strange, but they connect very well, and I recommend both very highly.

The story follows Araragi, a high school student and half vampire who can as a result take a ridiculous amount of abuse, and does so, without lasting harm, as he battles various supernatural happenings after discovering a mildly psychotic girl in his class had her body weight stolen by a crab, and helps her get it back. This is one of the more straightforward stories in the show.

The show has a truly ludicrous amount of cultural, mythological, literary, and pop cultural references, and also more than a fair amount of, lets say, erotic material. It can be highly off putting to many people, particularly to anime newcomers. The large cast of strange characters can also be a bit much for some. The animation, however, is worth it.

Bakemonogatari is a visual wonder. The animation is dynamic, detailed, and fluid, with a unique style entirely its own. Literally anything can be a visual treat, even the mundane. And when the supernatural stuff shows up, it causes jaws to drop and become anchored to the floor. The music is also very good, mirroring the off kilter feel of the show as a whole.

Over, the main draw of this show is not the animation, the story, the fanservice, or anything like that. It is Hitagi Senjogahara. You may recall I mentioned a mildly psychotic weightless girl earlier, well that’s her. She is also perhaps the best female character in any anime I have come across.She describes herself and tsudere, but no simple cliche does her justice. In her first interaction with Araragi, she threatens him with a stapler and exacto knife to either cheek, makes him swear not to tell anyone about her weightlessness, and then staples his cheek anyway, essentially for the kicks. Also, she fights with school supplies.

thZ3HHP7S7

 

Over time, her deep and troubling family history, and her sharp mind, come to the forefront, and her presence all by itself kept me watching, though most of the others are cool too. Araragi can be bland, but call it protagonist syndrom. Over all, Senjogahara is incredible.

And bakemonogatari isn’t bad either. Though it will be far too strange for some, most experienced anime fans, especially fans of dark, supernatural, or surreal highschool adventure shows, will find plenty to love. By an excellent creative team which also worked on the excellent madoka magica show, Bakemonogatari is not one to be missed. After tallying score for various factors on an extremely in depth and in no way fictitious scale I did not just make up, how dare you imply such slander, I award Bakemongatari an 8 out of 10. The series can be enjoyed on Crunchyroll for free if you deal with ads well. See you all next time!

Welcome All!

Hello. My name is John Juliano, and I have a confession to make. I am a fucking nerd. The chances are, if you’re here reading this, you are too. Like most nerds, I do and watch and read a lot of nerd shit. I used to review it even.

I am doing that again. My old reviews aren’t even memories now, so consider this my introduction. Primarily, this will be for anime reviews. I also intend to review novels, comics, videogames, and literally anything else I feel like. I hope all of you enjoy my work at least a little.

Come with me, and enter a new world.

cropped-untitled