Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Revolting I within the wolf's lair

Set in an alternate-era Fascist Japan, the animated film “Jin-Roh: the wolf’s brigade” successfully portrays the danger of a government that does not answer to the people. The classic symbol of a dictatorship is set in place, namely the non-public paramilitary force named “ (Cerberus)”. Controlled by the central government, this heavily armed militia is independent of local police authority and is immune to the regulations that apply to them. Although it’s official purpose is to combat Communist elements in society, their activities include the killings of unruly protesters.

The story of Constable Fuse (and the mentality of the Kerberos) is a metaphor for the mentality of life under a dictatorship. Their main creed is that they are part of the “team”, and they are subordinate to it. Very much like the wolf pack, the doctrine of the Kerberos emphasizes conformity and discourages individual initiative. This manifests itself when Fuse fails to shoot down a protester before she blew herself up. This failure results in Fuse being sent back to retraining because he “endangered his squad mates”. A further example is during the re-training phase, when Fuse and his training mates are scolded for not acting as one. Although this may be normal for military units such as Kerberos, such mentality is harmful, if not downright dangerous for civil society as a whole.

What dictatorships cherish most is Collectivism. Throughout history, tyrannies like the Soviet Union, the Fascist states and North Korea have ingrained into their people the idea that the welfare of the group is more important than their individual rights. Now let me state that this creates a precedent for whatever outrage the tyrants want to impose. This gives the tyrants power to own their people like subjects. For example, if a dictatorship decides that it is to the national interest that certain programs should be undertaken such as forced sterilizations, seizures of land/property and conscription, they trample the individual’s NEGATIVE LIBERTY and impose their will upon him. Furthermore, the people, under the poison of the idea that they are merely servants of the group (the state) would conform to the atrocities of the tyrants. All it takes is a little appeal to patriotism to do the job. At the same time, Collectivism discourages individuality. Displays of individuality, such as political dissent, free expression and works of art are usually (violently) suppressed in dictatorships, although the last two are approved only under the supervision of (or compliance with) the people in power. With this, dictatorships violate the individual’s POSITIVE LIBERTY while using flimsy reasons like national security, public morals or public safety to justify their methods. How many times have we heard heads of states give themselves unusually great leeway over the people from these reasons? How many times have we seen the figurative Reichstag fire to justify acts to scrap civil liberties, Is the fire a model for Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and in our own case, the “Destabilizers”, "Coup plotters" or the "Terrorists" for such atrocities like the American PATRIOT act and our own “Calibrated Pre-emptive Response” to be ordered? I hope that we are not mindless sheep to believe in the tyrant's foolishness. We, as citizens of a democratic nation have the right to question our public servants.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Real Drive

This anime follows the Production I.G. pioneered plot device of cyber-brains and mental internet. However, unlike its predecessor, Ghost in the shell, this anime is not about military machines nor cyber warfare. If I would describe this series, I would say that Real Drive is an attempt to glimpse the future 50-60 years from now.

As mentioned above, Real Drive is unique because it portrays advanced technology in a peaceful light. Our hero is not a soldier, but a plump high schooler and her "buddy" is an 80 year old man (hardly combat-ready characters). Haru, the 80 year old man works as a metal diver whose job is to salvage data lost inside the "metal". However, he is no ordinary diver. Haru has the ability to sense the earth's bio-rhythm, something which eventually plays a substantial role in the story.

Real Drive focuses not on the capabilities of future weaponry, but on human interaction amid technological advances. The series examines the idea of friendship not only between persons, but between separate consciousness'. Several episodes tackle man's relationship with machines and animals. Furthermore, it explores the concept of intelligent AI. Like GITS, androids are portrayed as beings capable of emotion. However, I think that this show is more about the man than machine. Yes, the emotion-feeling android is a given, but the relationship between them and humankind is because of man's initiative. Basically, this asks not "Can robots love?", but "After love, then what?" Anyway, so much for that..

On the technical side of things, I would say that the show's creators made plump girls the order of the day. This is the only anime I know which features female characters with more than normal amounts of flesh. I'm not saying they're fat though, just plump. Fluid animation is noticeable throughout the series, and CGI is heavily used (which is normal for this genre). The colors used contributed to the "light mood" they wanted to portray and gave meat to the sci-fi elements of the art.

Overall, Real Drive was a nice watch. It wasn't as philosophical or angsty as GITS but more down to earth and sentimental, focusing more on the more human side of things. Even though both feature very similar technologies, they are very different from each other. GITS was a story of bleakness and cynicism, while Real Drive is a story beaming with optimism and faith in humankind.

Recommended for serious viewing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Sakura

In this game, you play yet another faceless male lead trying to bang a harem…. Not.
Actually, this game is very character heavy. Your character gets stuck in Northern Japan living with his hot cousin and interacting with friends and your airhead teacher. The entire game spans months of daily interaction that ranges from funny conversations like playing mahjong or talking about porn to well, more funny conversations. The reason why I say that it’s character heavy is that the story flows good enough to lift the character set from its 2d nature. In fact, it makes you think that the characters are really your friends. No kidding. The plot is its strongest value.

The characters themselves are pretty clichéd. We have the hotfuck cousin, the shy one, the stalker, the senior and the ditzy teacher. However, the development makes up for the seemingly mediocre set.
The story does not have the sheer emotional power of Crescendo nor Kana: Little sister nor the introspective coming-of-age appeal of Yume Miru Kusuri, but it stands on its own. If I were to describe the plot, it’s a slice-of-life comedy mixed with occasional slapstick. There is no real plot; however, the daily interactions between the characters move the story (Yes, the everyday “waking up” or “lunch break” scene do a lot).

The sex scenes were sparse and only appear during the late part of the game, but I did not pay much attention to them. The rich character development made the characters seem more than mere fuck dolls. One girl actually bleeds. She bled… down there. However, this is not unusual in eroge. The ero part is not its strong point. However, I like the concept of building up the character then letting her get fucked until she bleeds… I like ;-).

I have only one gripe about the story. The character becomes a dad after fucking one girl. I HATE it when such a disaster happens. It takes the fun out of the game. Parenthood is really the “bad ending” in adventures like these, but it isn’t portrayed as such in here. Next time, I hope they use condom-wielding male leads to avoid disasters like this. This is the second game where I encounter a male lead ending up as a dad. I am not amused with the trend.

The game engine is quite neat. It gives the player an option to see dialogue logs just by scrolling the mouse wheel upwards. Saving and loading the game is easy too. Right clicking is a thing of the past. The music is well, soft and befitting of the atmosphere.

This game will be well received by those looking for a lighthearted comedy with rich character development. Those looking for a fuckfest must avoid this game. No, the fuckfest fans must stop playing eroge entirely. They contribute to the proliferation of fuckfest ero games which I avoid like the plague.


If I would recommend a game for you to play, this is it Crescendo is a visual novel about a delinquent high school boy named Ryo and his last 5 days before graduation. Because it's a visual novel,You play this game by reading the text and selecting pre-determined choices.

There are 5 girls in the story. The first three are his classmates who know him for some time. The first girl, Kaho is stuck between him and another guy Ryo told her to go out with. The second girl, Kyoko, is a shy freshman who secretly likes Ryo and the third, Yuka, sells her body to her fellow students.

Aside from the first three, you get Ayame, Ryo's older sister who he fucked and Kaori, the nurse with issues of her own. The storyline of these 2 characters would blow the other three into oblivion (in my opinion).

Although I find Ayame's story too depressing at times, I find Kaori's story very lighthearted and witty. Hmmm.... why do I? I don't know. Maybe I like older girls. But the subject is the game, not me.

Technically, the characters look very anime-ish and that's a strong point, actually. It's just that you need to get used to the unrealistic but cute design. The Music is a relaxing collection of Scott Joplin's ragtime pieces. Nothing special, just focus on the story (especially of the two I specified).

I've got nothing much to say about the mandatory sex scenes, as I wasn't interested in it. Let's just say that one girl gets raped (gang-banged to be exact), but I won't tell who.

This game not only gets 5 out of 5 stars, but also a spot in my overall Hall of Fame for being brave enough to explore taboo issues (rape, (pseudo)incest).

Bonus Fact: This was installed in my laptop and I played it in school