February 11, 2011

Anti-Review: Return to Labyrinth

Ah ha! I found it! I wrote this review maybe two years ago, but never got to publish it until now. I consider this book the second-worst piece of shit manga I have ever read. In fact, when Matt offered me a free copy of volume 2, I hissed at him and hid under my production assistant's desk.

True story.

Return to Labyrinth

Jake T. Forbes & Chris Lie

Cover art by Kouyu Shurei

If you're a child of the 80s like me, you still think of David Bowie as a sex symbol and want to name your first born "Jareth." So here’s what I want you to do. Go to your local book store or anime shop and take Return to Labyrinth off the shelf. Admire the beautiful cover art for a while. Stroke it. Lick it if you feel compelled to do so.

Then put it back on the shelf, go home, and pop in your Labyrinth DVD instead. Cause if you're feeling nostalgic, this title isn't going to do anything for you.

Return to Labyrinth takes place about 15 years after the original film, and centers on Sarah's younger brother Toby. Toby's going through the wangsty teenager phase, but has the underappreciated luck to receive anything he wishes for. Why? Because the Goblin King Jareth has seen to it. Jareth meets with Toby in the form of an insultingly effeminate guidance counselor to scold him for his lack of gratitude.

Jareth then lures Toby into the Kingdom by having a goblin...*sigh*...steal his homework. And voila, there he is to face with the Labyrinth's many perils. If you were hoping to see Toby use his clever wit to get himself through the puzzles, don't get your hopes up. The story and character relationships have zero rational development.

My translation: "Hey, you're a faerie that stabbed me. I introduce myself. Now we're friends!"

And then...

"Oh noes! We're being chased by a lion made of water that can pass through bars! I have an idea...let's lead it through a giant pile of poo. Now run everyone! There's a gate! We're suddenly on the other side of the gate and assume that the poo-covered, water lion can't pass through the bars now, but we're not actually going to see if it even tried."

I'm not kidding.

Apparently continuity and quality checking aren't important either, demonstrated by the print errors on page 4. There's a scene where Sarah cooks what appears to be salmon and soup for Toby, then puts down eggs, bacon, and sausage in front of him. That's skill.

The characters tend to be one dimensional except for Moppet. She has potential. A human girl abandoned in the goblin city, forced to wear a mask because she believes she’s truly hideous (comparatively). The artwork desperately wants to be manga, but fails. Everything is limited to its frame. It lacks grace and background detail in a lot of cells. Had this been a full-color western-style comic rather than marketed as a "manga" this may have passed...no...wait...no. Good art can't balance out this predictable drivel.

December 30, 2010

December 28, 2010

New Creative Project

I have been on a creative streak recently. As many of you know, I am teaming up with a friend to work on a manga. For now, I'm paying her for her concept art, but damn that can be expensive. Wouldn't it be nice to make a little money doing something fun on the side to help pay for it?

Several years ago, I made a cross stitch that says "Shut Your Whore Mouth." Now it sits on the mantle over my fake fireplace, but it has become quite a conversation piece. So why not make more of my favorite anime and video game quotes and sell them?

If you would like to suggest any, hit me up on on twitter at @TheAnimeGoddess and let me know. Try to keep them short. Here's the list so far:

"The cake is a lie" - Portal
"SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY..." - Cowboy Bebop
"Finish the fight" - Halo
"A real man doesn't need to see the future, he makes his own." - Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid.
"Remember that time we tried to kill you by putting you in fire and you were like NO WAY? That was great." - Portal
"But our princess is in another castle!" - Mario Bros
"The fear for blood tends to create the fear for flesh" - Silent Hill 1
"You have died of dysentery" - Oregon Trail
"Do a barrel roll!" -Starfox 64
"Take out all sons-o-bitches!" Left 4 Dead 2
"Pills Here!" - Left 4 Dead
Over 9000!" - DragonBall
"I've learned not to underestimate the power of the human race." ~Vegeta, DragonBall
"Who the do hell do you think I am?" - Gurren Lagann
"Love and Peace!" - Trigun
Hadoken!!" - Street Fighter
"OMG Shoes!" and "Stupid Boy" - Liam Sullivan
"What a perfect night. It's the kind of night that makes me want to suck blood" - Hellsing
"Finish Him" - Mortal Kombat
"All Your Base Are Belong to Us" - Zero Wing
"Game Over"

October 5, 2010

Games & Anime Don't Make You Fat

(South Park: "Make Love, Not Warcraft")

Gaming doesn't make you fat. Anime doesn't make you fat. You make you fat.

For a while, I've been thinking about the unfair stereotypes placed on gamers and anime geeks that claim us to be unhealthy, overweight, and physically inactive. Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I generally live a healthy lifestyle, and I know that I'm not alone.

The other week, I was culling answers for X-Play's twitter ticker. The question was asking "How many hours a week do you play MMORPGs?" And in response, I saw several answers that read that they don't play at all because they "don't want to get fat" or are "fat enough as is."

I found this to be rather offensive. Video games and anime do not make you fat. Making poor food choices and a lack of physical activity make you fat. You are perfectly capable of having good health and geekdom. In fact, even if you don't have time for physical activity, you can still loose excess weight with healthier eating habits. I know because I've been doing it for the last three months with success.

You don't have to stand for the bias society places on you. You don't have to confine yourself to your parents' basement and eat crap just because that is how gamers are portrayed in the media. If you take responsibility for your choices, you will quickly discover that you can have both your health and your entertainment.

That and you'll live longer and have more energy to enjoy your gaming and anime.

September 22, 2010


"You suck!"
"No, you suck!"
"You both suck!"

I made up a new word!

"Platformism": To discriminate or otherwise put down another person for playing video games on a different platform than yourself.

You humans have this inherent need to find any reason to claim that you're better than someone else. I blame American culture and media which pressures men into being tough, strong, alpha males. Those kind of men win battles. Those kind of men get rich. Those kind of men get the girl in the end.

I've noticed that this craving for domination has extended to video gaming, especially in male players. Gamers will claim that they are better than someone else because they own console X while their victim owns console Y or PC Z. Guess what boys...it doesn't mean a damn thing.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And it's exactly like saying that you are better than someone else because your skin is lighter or darker or your eyes are blue instead of brown. These factors don't make you any better than anyone else. They just make you different. These are VIDEO GAMES we're talking about. Just games! They don't mean that you are smarter, tougher, more ethical, or more talented than the guy sitting next to you.

In fact, turn whatever person is near you right now and say to them, "I am a better human being than you because I play video games on (your console of choice)."

Note the confused pause, then the chuckle. It clearly expresses: "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

August 17, 2010

Some Day My Prince Will Come and Fight

My mom: Your older sister is Alice. Your younger sister is Snow White. You're Mulan.
Me: Mom, I am NOT Mulan!

My mother and I have exchanged these words on more than one occasion. I never related much to Disney princesses. The closest I come to is Belle because I enjoy reading, I always try to give people a chance, and "I want much more than this provincial life." Still, it never quite fit. It wasn't ME.

Tonight I was fortunate enough to attend Crispin Freeman's Anime Mythology lecture on priestesses, mystics, and warrior women. He made very solid comparisons between what it means to be a western princess versus an eastern magical girl. I couldn't possibly do his lecture justice by going into detail, but to sum it up: Western princesses achieve happiness through marrying a man. Eastern princesses achieve happiness through self-actualization.

The lecture got me thinking about my own life, why I relate better to female anime figures, and why I am more intrigued by Japanese male characters than western ones.

Female anime characters: I crave adventure. Life can be extremely repetitive and banal to me. So I find that the stories I enjoy the most involve females who must fight against an opposing force to save the world (whichever one it may be). Sadly, there is no such adventure in this day and age as we find in stories. Still, I don't want to be the damsel in the tower to be rescued by the prince. I want to be the warrior kicking ass and taking names!

I want to be special.

Male anime characters: I have been fortunate enough to not be pressured by my family to "find a man and get married." Quite frankly, I enjoy being single and find it sad how many people are placed under this pressure. Lately, I've been saying to myself, "I would rather have a common warrior who fights by my side, than a cowardly prince who hides in his castle" in relation to a recent romantic interest who did me wrong. In Crispin's lecture, he touched on the male protagonists involved with the females' journeys as being, not princes, but "devoted protectors" who serve as much as they love. Examples he used were Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi, Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, Van (and I'd include Allen) from Escaflowne, Inuyasha from Inuyasha, and even Alucard from Hellsing.

And I realized that THAT is what I want from a man. I don't want castles and riches and pretty faces. What I truly desire is an equal. I want that "devoted protector" who will join me in the final battle for the world's fate. Whether we'll be on the same side...well that will be interesting to see.

July 6, 2010

AX and My First Public Lecture

Sunday morning, I went up on stage in front of a few dozen people and gave a lecture about interacting with professionals in the anime industry.

So that happened.

Yeah, Anime Expo wasn't as awesome as I would've hoped. The lecture went fine. People laughed, then asked questions, they learned a lot...I'd call that a success. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Saturday and Sunday which limited my time. Plus a lot of the panels started late, the food was awful, and I was in pain both days during times I was just trying to enjoy myself.

One of the truly awesome things was getting to meet a bunch of friends I'd only known online. I really felt supported doing my lecture knowing that they had shown up to support me. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to give it again (many thanks to Matt to giving me a critique) or perhaps a different lecture next time.

Sadly, the person who was going to record it didn't make it until the very end, so it wasn't taped. Maybe next time.