In this ongoing segment, I’ll narcissistically talk about things that I’m currently enjoying or think are cool. ¬†I’ll plan on doing this once a week, rather than random ramblings about Dancing with the Stars or the latest failed attempt at pop music.
BoA – BoA (self titled)
This is Korean pop singer BoA’s big American debut album…although she’s been singing in English…and Japanese…and of course Korean…for many years now. ¬†For better or worse, unlike Utada Hikaru’s big American debut album, this one doesn’t sound very Asian at all. ¬†In fact, if you tried to pass this off as Britney’s latest work, no one would be none the wiser. ¬†It’s a collection of above average, lightweight, catchy, current dance/”hip-pop” tunes.
I posted this a little while back, but at the time it wasn’t officially a shirt. ¬†However, it’s been approved and available for purchase. ¬†I don’t know what it is, but artsy Pac-Man shirts are able to make me pay more than $12 for mere t-shirts.
Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)
The live-action adaptation of the classic manga/anime series. ¬†That being said, I wasn’t familiar with the source material, but somehow I stumbled on a recommendation to check out the TV show, so I gave it a shot. ¬†And it sank its claws into me, causing me to watch mini-marathons each night that prevented me from going to bed before 4am.
In a nutshell, Tsukushi is a poor girl whose family is putting her through the most exclusive, rich-kid high school in Japan. ¬†Her goal was to fly under the radar until graduation, but after defending a friend, she draws the the wrath of the school’s ruling power: the F4, a group of sons of Japan’s ruling elite in commerce, culture, and the “underworld.” ¬†Refusing to back down from the teasing and abuse from the whole school and actually socking a punch to the F4′s leader Tsukasa, she earns F4′s respect and the admiration of their self-centered, young punk leader, much to the dismay of all the rich girls doting on the boys. ¬†Of course Tsukasa has familial obligation to become heir to the throne of Japan’s largest financial dynasty, and his wicked mother won’t stand to have him fall in love with a peasant girl. ¬†The side characters all have interesting side-stories that are reasonably explored, and the Cinderella story is not overly melodramatic or cheesy nor girly or sappy. ¬†However, a certain level of over-the-topness is expected from any Japanese show. ¬†It goes on for 20 episodes between the two seasons, plus a movie.
I picked up the book after watching and thoroughly enjoying the movie. ¬†I’m about a quarter of the way in, and so far the movie’s been pretty damned spot-on. ¬†Already knowing how things are going to play out (more or less given the tweaks to the ending), I am having lots of fun seeing hidden hints and clues in the crude 1980′s artwork.
House of the Dead: Overkill
It’s a non-stopbloody, funny, funky, dirty-mouthed riot. ¬†Except for those annoying half-second freezes everytime you blow someone up to smithereens…which is quite often. ¬†It’s easy to overlook that technical quirkiness, though when the game is just this much fun thanks to it’s incredible polish. ¬†There’s location sensitive hit-zones that let you blow off individual limbs, grindhouse-style dirtied up image and audio filters, and a genuinely funny script despite the famously frequent f-bombs.
Buy it! ¬†Buy it new, dammit! ¬†Otherwise we’ll still be stuck with endless mini-game collections. ¬†Sega is sticking its neck out by publishing all these “core gamer” titles like HotD: Overkill, MadWorld, and The Conduit. ¬†If they don’t get any love and appreciation (read: money), then the word that’s being sent their way is that it’s not profitable to aim for the “core” gaming crowd.