The Mouse and The Mask Review

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Hello, and welcome back to Nerdshit! And this is the one where I lose like half of you, at least. After all, how the fuck is rap nerd shit. Well, a long time ago I used to follow a review group called the desudes brigade, and one of the reviewers there was jesuotaku. She was of the opinion that people should stop crossing anime with hip hop, because the hip hop kids were the ones who used to steal the anime kids’ lunch money. My opinion is even so, after they got done they were going to use it to go buy some manga and then go home and watch toonami and adult swim.

There is a whole genre of nerd rap, or Nerdcore, and while much of it is hit or miss, this album is clearly a hit. MF Doom is possibly the most gifted MC of all time, and with Danger Mouse handling the production the whole album is gold beginning to end. Chalk full of adult swim references and cartoon show samples, this is most definitely nerd shit. And it is glorious to behold.

If you are familiar with MF doom, the fact that this album is good should not surprise. For everyone else, this album is far, far more than good. Doom’s lyrical gymnastics impress as much as ever, and the cartoon wordplay hits home every single time. From space ho’s coast to coast to ATHF, just so many golden tracks to be had by all. The references range from Conan The Barbarian to Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and many many more.

But it’s not just references, all of his other wordplay hits home as well. On the beat side, we have 80s and 90s danceable beats laced beginning to end with samples from Spaceghost Coast to Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and many others. Rap is only half the treat on this album.

If there is any complaint to have, and there’s not, it would be that there is not much being actually talked about other than cartoon references. Believe it or not, that matters to hip hop listeners, at least to many of them. Still, as a rapper myself, this is an album and an artist who have influenced my own work.

So, at the end of the day, the album is excellent, if not incredibly deep. It is definitely worth the time of any fan of 80s, 90s, and 00s cartoons, and anyone who enjoys adult swim, or hell, any sort of hip hop at all. I guess if giving Naruto a 6 didn’t get me murdered, nothing is going to. I give The Mouse and The Mask an 8.5 of 10. Have a wonderful day, and please don’t kill me.

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Snowcrash Review

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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.

Bakemonogatari review

 

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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.

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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!