…All’s right with the world.

You know how it is when you spend so long waiting for something that eventually you stop checking?

A couple of years ago Hideaki Anno, Gainax and Studio Khara announced the Rebuild of Evangelion project. It’s aim to retell Neon Genesis Evangelion across four theatrical movies. The first three focusing on updating the original series with the addition of several new elements including new characters and at least two new EVA’s. The fourth film is intended to give the franchise an alternative ending(at least its fourth variation across all Media).

Grand plans indeed. The first of the four movies was released in September of 2007 and was pretty much a straight remake of the first six episodes of the series, none of Anno’s plans became apparent in the actual movie, its not until the teaser trailer for part two at thee end of the movie that there is anything for the fan to get greasey-excited about. Here we are treated to glimpses of a new Eva model. our first look at the redesign of Eva 02 and our first glimpse of a young girl with brown hair and spectacles who may or may not be a new pilot. Pretty exciting stuff.

Then things went quiet though. The originally planned release date of January 2008 came and went, anime magazine Newtype anounced that the film would now be released in December 2008, almost a whole year after the original date. October 2008 the official website published enigmaticly that the second film wouldn’t be released until “Early summer 2009”, it was starting to look like the rebuild project was going the same way as the ill-fated western Movie.

That’s what I thought any way, an as time went on I stopped checking, until today I tapped it into Google looking for a UK release date for Book 12 of the manga, what I found instead was a new trailer for the second movie, and a confirmed release date of June 27 2009.

While I realise that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, since I first saw the series I’ve loved it, it features a complexity to it’s characters that I find fascinating and while many of it’s themes are cod philosophy, psychology and theology at best it’s still probably more thought provoking than your average Dan Brown adaptation.  And it has giant robots (sort of), take that Hanks!

“Stop, stop! He’s already dead!”

Better Days
Better Days.

Apologies to all those ralph-fans out there(only lying to myself), I missed my post yesterday, to be honest I was a bit stuck for something to write, then I read a couple of things from which I found inspiration.  The first was an article on the escapist regarding games fanatasism, with particular focus on a certain spikey, blue mammal.  The second was Neil’s piece which linked to one particular fictional gem</lie> which excellently highlights the point I’m about to make.

Starting with an admission.  I am a Sonic the Hedgehog fan.  Since christmas 1991when my buddy Craig brought round his imported Japanese Mega Drive, I was hooked on the adventures of the speedy, blue one.  It was a whole year before I received my own Mega Drive along with both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 2, still the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received, If someone gave me the gift of world peace and an end to all war, it would still slot in at no. 2 behind that Mega Drive.

Sonic was a departure from every other game I’d played up to that Christmas, about the most visually impressive game I’d played up to this point had been in an arcade, something like maybe wonderboy, or possibly the TMNT arcade game.  I’d never considered recreating this at home possible, not on my Spectrum anyway which offered impressive art if you didn’t mind it monochrome, and with little or no sound.  Sonic completely blew everything before it out of the water, Green Hill Zone Act 1is in my opinion the best designed level for any game on any system, and a perfect showcase for what sonic games should be all about, speed.  Playing Sonic on Xbox live acade my best run through time for act 1 is 29 seconds, I’m pretty sure that when I was a kid I hit 27, but that might be youthful exuberance (or out and out lying).  That doesn’t mean though that you had to complete the first level quickly, If you meander through the level it’s no less rewarding but with so much speed to hand it seems like a shame not to use it.

Later games went on to add further characters from the good ((though confusing) Knuckles the Echidna, Miles”Tails” Prower, Amy Rose(sometimes)), the bad (Charmy Bee, Shadow the Hedgehog, Silver the Hedgehog, Big the Cat, Cream the Rabbit (Oh god it’s like yiffy paedophilia!)) and the Ugly (Big the Cat, again).

Right that’s the potted history out the way, what was I saying?  I love the whole Sonic franchise, unfortunately only in the same way that I love the whole Star Wars franchise, or the whole Indiana Jones franchise, that is after the first three entries I zone out and pretend that nothing else happened.  Deep down there’s a small, grey sinkhole in my heart where I bury all the bad things that happen to a franchise that meant something to me as a child, every time George Lucas sticks his dick into my childhood (thank you South Park) I just bury it away and pretend it never happened.  The same is true of Sonic team, following Sonic & Knuckles (the last of the 2D series on  the megadrive) came Sonic 3D, it wasn’t fast paced and the concept of roaming an isometric 3D plain looking for birdies was like playing a re-skinned version of Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, only more disapointing what with the original being about ten years old by this point.

Sega, realising their mistake at setting Sonic in a 3D environment, went on to completely ignore it, with all of the main cannon games being made in 3D, and all but Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast receiving anything other than a critical mauling.  Meanwhile on the GBA and DS all of Sonic’s continued adventures in two dimensions have been praised by both fans and critics alike.

Mind you do I really expect anyone to take note of criticism, when the BTOC’s in town?  No of course not, the fact of the matter is that despite well deserved criticism Sonic the Hedgehog is not just a mascot for Sega anymore, but a mascot for the industry, Sonic is not only recognised by gamers but by people on the outside, particularly parents, grown up gamers who remember Sonic from before but no longer pay attention to the industry.  It’s this sense of a “safe bet” which has given Sonic a critic proof sales dynamic.

Apologies to the artist but I couldnt bring myself to use something derogatory
Apologies to the artist but I couldn't bring myself to use something truly derogatory, I quite liked this.

That and (Welcome to the dark places) Sonic fans that didn’t abandon the blue one when it was a sensible time to jump ship.  I’ve never understood the concept of fanboyism, of the Otaku, of the fanatic until I saw Sonic the Hedgehog fans.  If Sega’sefforts to force me away from the series hadn’t worked then the fans themselves just might.  Not that I’m critical of all fans, I’ve already said that despite Sega’s best efforts, I’m still a fan, thing is though as a fan, I’ve never really considered it necessary to produce badly spelt yiffy porn.  Maybe it’s just me but I’ve never revved up a Sonic game and thought “Y’know, this is good, but imagine if Sonic was taking Amy Rose roughly from behind while Tails tickles his balls.”  I just… seriously I’m lost for words.  I know for a fact that I don’t have to look very hard online to find hundreds of grotty fan-fictions of this very scene.  They’ve even got celebrity endorsement of a fashion thanks to Excel Saga creator Rikdo Koshi, who has in the past produced Sonic dojin.  This being Rikdo though I’d like to think that there was some reasoning behind his art, even if it was just one of the BTOC’s stop offs.

Funny 'cos it's true

I found this handy venn diagram on google images and I can’t help but think that this isn’t something only I’ve noticed, the internet’s saturated with it, possibly more-so than any other franchise (with the possible exception of Final Fantasy, though the quality of FF games has remained high, almost inspite of the garaunteed sales and obsessive fans)

I stated in my title he’s already dead, and I can’t help but think that in my mind Sonic is just that, I still remember the good times, I’ve got the original Sonic game on Live Arcade, and I’ll continue to enjoy it, will I ever buy a new Sonic the Hedgehog game?  no probably not, I can’t help but feel that Sega has long since rendered the franchise, and to that end Sonic himself dead to me.  It’s just sad that that hasn’t  stopped others who proclaim to love him from repeatedly raping his spikey, blue, attitude filled, corpse.

Hello Dolly…

As a TV addicted Geek, Joss Whedon is something of a hero to me (and by “hero” I mean, yes I would). This being the case, I was most excited to hear about his latest project and, in accordance with my apparent Mormanesque look, I thought I would relay the good news to you all…

Dollhouse is to feature Whedon veterans Eliza Dushku (oh my, she’s a feisty one) and Amy Acker (I think I’d cry afterwards). The basic premise of the show is that a company has a number of agents on it’s books who they hire out to perform any task the customer requires. These “Actives”, are mindless shell people who spend most of their time in a childlike state in the agency’s over sized dolls house. Before each mission they have personalities and skills implanted as required, once the mission is complete they return home to be blanked and put back into their gilded cage. Mission range from business to pleasure and anything in-between (I’m expecting assassination to high-class hooker patrol).

The hook is that one of the Actives (Echo, Eliza Dushku) starts to remember the time between missions. Thus she begins to workout what’s happening and, one assumes, the intrigue begins.

I heard about this project in early 2008 and have been picking up details ever since. What prompted me into this most evangelic of posts, however, was reading a report that production had been halted. I feared the worst, FOX cutting another promising Sci-Fi show off before it’s even got going would not exactly be a surprise. They’ve even done it to Whedon twice, with his best two shows to date Angel and Firefly, at which point he declared he would never work for FOX again… Obviously the “big truck of cash” came to town and changed all that, but I’ve learned to accept it’s influence in life…

Thankfully it turned out to be Mr Whedon himself delaying production, the reason he gave was that he didn’t feel that the scripts he’d left others to complete were of sufficient quality, so is running his eye over them and bring them up to par. I found this strangely reassuring, as you don’t usually hear improvement in quality as a reason for many things these days (least of all television production) and it has raised my hopes still further that a classic may be on the cards…

The obligatory wikipedia and IMDB pages, plus the TV.com page:

Wiki link; IMDB link; TV.com link

Until next week dear fellows and fellowesses…