Thursday, March 31, 2005


Tagline: "Death is merciful punishment when a ninja seeks revenge!"

I bought the VHS of NINJA SQUAD for $3.99 used on the basis of the cover art alone. I edited the ninja battles with some Newport Cigarette commercials and premired it at AnimeFEST '04. I didn't think the crowd would sit though the 15 minutes of bad ninjitsu and cigarettes, but people really get into the battle between Ivan the Red and Master Ninja Gordon. You can also pick up some great ninja fashion tips from this movie. For your enjoyment watch Ivan's first battle in VCD quality MPEG here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

SCREAM at the screen in Houston...

The horror of the Heinomaske was unleashed at KamiKazeCon, and we did as much AV inflicted damage as we could within our alotted two hours. I consider it a very successful mission.

Specs Liquor Warehouse of the Future! Posted by Hello

We had the rental Chevy Classic loaded up and southbound before noon. We made good time, with a brief stop at Woody's Smokehouse in Centerville, TX for lunch, we found ourselves in downtown Houston around 4:30pm. We stumbled into the Hyatt Regency and made a quick call to Peter Suk, the master of all things AV KamiKazeCon, and got us some staff badgery. After scoping out Video Room 2 to see the lay of the land we checked in with Bob and Emily down in the dealer's dungeon. After a visit to Texas Art Supply and a much too brief stop at Spec's Liquor Warehouse (or as we liked to call it, SIX FLAGS OVER BOOZE) we had just enough time to eat at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse before racing back to the hotel for the show.

Peter, KamiKazeCon's Video Director, gave us a half hour to set-up OtakuHELL which turned out to be just right. I was running video through a video switcher because I had added a DigiViewer to my gear. It's a tiny data card reader with AV output that automaticly loops video clips that I'd picked up for about $40. I had an animated logo that looped running on the DigiViewer and I would switch to it when I swapped disks or set up tapes. After a false start I had the whole mess running like a charm. Shout out to Peter and his AV posse! They were the best!

I started OHELL with the opening from THE HYPNOTIC EYE cable access show and then showed the new TETSUJIN 28 live action movie trailer followed by the trailer for KUNG FU HUSTLE. There was TURKISH STAR TREK and FORKLIFT DRIVER KLAUS and THE NINJA SQUAD and much, much more. I ended the show with GOGO'S BALLS and LOLITA NO. 18's cover of VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR.

All in all it was a fantasticly trouble free HELL. The sound system was excellent, and I had Bruce Lewis running commentary on the mic to keep that important roadshow/carny quality. Thanks Bruce! Midway through the set we paused to pass out the Heinomaskes and I got a suprise assist from Brett Weaver and EK. Thanks guys! Big thanks go to Mundee and Ed, too. I hope we'll be invited back for next year...

Thursday, March 24, 2005


DIY OtakuHELL! Posted by Hello
We'll be passing out free HEINOMASKES at OtakuHELL in KamiKazeCon! Get yours while supplies last! Can't make it to OtakuHELL? Print out your own Heinomaske, cut along the dotted lines and hold it in front of your face for full HEINO-VISION effect!

OtakuHELL Flyers

Print your own OtakuHELL flyers:
Link to 11"x17" sized OtakuHELL Flyer in PDF format

Link to Legal sized (11"x14") OtakuHELL Flyer in PDF format

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

OtakuHELL Good Friday

OtakuHELL at KamiKazeCon, Friday, March 25th, Video Room 2, 10pm to Midnite, see you there! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Anime Express 2005 Report

To sum it up in just one sentence: not quite as good as I'd have hoped. Read on if you care to learn why.

In terms of equipment, I was lucky since the con was held at a college. They set me up in a big room (one of those classrooms used for lecturing) and provided me with a TV and VCR (owned by the college). I even got a microphone by way of a karaoke machine! That was most excellent. What wasn't so excellent was the audio setup. Nobody bothered to check in advance to see if the speakers mounted on the walls of this big room actually worked, so the only sound I could get was mono audio coming out of the ceiling-mounted projector. The staff was able to get me PC speakers from one of the empty video rooms--the inevitable result when the video schedule is done in the style of "26 episodes of something from start to finish, followed by 26 episodes of something else"--which was at least better than the built-in projector speaker, but still not what the room was made for.

I was ready to go, 9:00 PM rolled around...and the room was COMPLETELY EMPTY. Sure, the convention was one of the smaller conventions on the Florida con map, but considering there were no other events scheduled at the time, I figured something was amiss. Then it quickly dawned on me that there were no con guides printed out for this convention. Nor were there opening ceremonies, and on top of all that, the con took place in multiple buildings spaced quite far apart on a rather cold day (by Florida standards, 50-60 degrees is COLD like three million bucks worth of whitey's ice, baby). There really wasn't many ways for people to know my panel (or anything else that weekend) was going on. There was no sign by the room indicating it as being the panels room either, which I brought up on a few occasions to no avail. Earlier that day, I had suggested to the con head honcho--who along with the other staffers was a REALLY cool guy to me, going to such extents as to pay for my hotel room all weekend and take me to dinner on Saturday just for doing the panel--that it'd be a good idea to at least post the schedule in various places around the convention, and that actually did get done. Alas, the schedule was in list format instead of a table (and in military time), and for some reason my panel was entitled "Anime Hell" despite the fact that I have never called my panel that to anyone since Dave requested I use a different name.

I walked around, rounded up some folks (about 20 or so, with more trickling in/out over time), and got things started at 9:15. My bad fortune continued, since the computer (same one I always use) crashed a few times. That's never happened once before, but I could now instantly switch over to the VCR while fixing the problem so that there wasn't any downtime of more than a few seconds. I must say, the monaural audio situation hurt me big time with the older clips since the sound isn't that good on those to begin with. In the future, I might just have to omit that stuff or learn some rudimentary audio equalization so that I could alter the clips in advance since everything sounds fine on my speakers at home.

Something was actually scheduled after my panel (karaoke), so I ended my panel at exactly 11:00 despite the late start. Due to being overly cautious and bringing about 4 hours of material to fill a 2 hour block (I'd pick something from the VCR while playing something from the computer and vice versa), I didn't make as big a dent in trying out my new footage as I'd have hoped (especially not my multitude of goofy Arnold Schwarzanegger clips from such hits as The Villain, Hercules in New York, and Commando). Forklift Driver Klaus and Cartoon All-Stars To the Rescue went over well, and luckily for me the audience found my Zardoz selections quite entertaining (I had 12 short clips of this masterpiece which I'd intersperse throughout, and I got through 4). The "Slimby" segment of Look Around You (a personal favorite of mine; I'll do a separate Look Around You update later) also got a great reaction, as did The Awful Truth ("Make a Wish Foundation" and "Teen Sniper School") and Ayaka's Surprise English Lessons ("How many members are in Morning Musume?"). Fish Fight was just a little too weird for some, one of whom retired to another room and was later seen showing a roomful of people this interminably long Flash animation that's a little funnier if you've read the book, but not by much. I'll write that off as an anomaly and bring Fish Fight back for the next Panel OF DOOM, at Anime Festival Orlando in August.

Looking back, I don't think I'd do a panel at Anime Express next year. The staff treated me very well, but I can't help but think that they really should be spending that $300 or so they spent on accommodating me on things like say, the printing costs for a convention guide. I think I'm best off sticking to mid-sized cons like Jacon, AFO, and AWA for now. I would have included Metrocon on that list, and indeed I'd someday like to do a panel at Metrocon opposite the cosplay nerd prom on Friday night, but they want most of their programming to be "G to PG-13"-rated, and my panels tend to hover pretty solidly in the "TV-MA" to "R" range. Plus, I don't know anyone in Tampa so I'd need a place to sleep for the night, and since they're a convention that gets REAL guests, I'm pretty much sunk.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Clip of the Month - Old Glory Robot Insurance

Old Lady #1: When my ex-husband passed away, the insurance company said his policy didn't cover him.
Old Lady #2: They didn't have enough money for the funeral.
Old Lady #3: It's so hard nowadays, with all the gangs and rap music..
Old Lady #1: What about the robots?
Old Lady #4: Oh, they're everywhere!
Old Lady #1: I don't even know why the scientists make them.
Old Lady #2: Darren and I have a policy with Old Glory Insurance, in case we're attacked by robots.
Old Lady #1: An insurance policy with a robot plan? Certainly, I'm too old.
Old Lady #2: Old Glory covers anyone over the age of 50 against robot attack, regardless of current health.
[ cut to Sam Waterston, Compensated Endorser ]
Sam Waterson: I'm Sam Waterston, of the popular TV series "Law & Order". As a senior citizen, you're probably aware of the threat robots pose. Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel. Well, now there's a company that offers coverage against the unfortunate event of robot attack, with Old Glory Insurance. Old Glory will cover you with no health check-up or age consideration. [ SUPER: Limitied Benefits First Two Years ] You need to feel safe. And that's harder and harder to do nowadays, because robots may strike at any time. [ show pie chart reading "Cause of Death in Persons Over 50 Years of Age": Heart Disease, 42% - Robots, 58% ] And when they grab you with those metal claws, you can't break free.. because they're made of metal, and robots are strong. Now, for only $4 a month, you can achieve peace of mind in a world full of grime and robots, with Old Glory Insurance. So, don't cower under your afghan any longer. Make a choice. [ SUPER: "WARNING: Persons denying the existence of Robots may be Robots themselves. ] Old Glory Insurance. For when the metal ones decide to come for you - and they will.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

OH! Mikey

OH! Mikey is a series of short segments (about 2 minutes each) detailing the wacky hijinks of the Fuccons, an American family living in Japan. But despite living in the real world, all the characters on the show are well, mannequins, and not even of the variety that come to life in 80s movies and their even lamer 1991 sequels. Which makes it GREAT for nightmare fuel.

This is Mikey.

OH! Mikey Posted by Hello

Here's Mikey's mom, whose mouth is always agape no matter what because well, she's a mannequin.

OH! Mikey Posted by Hello

And here's Mikey's dad.

OH! Mikey Posted by Hello

There's a whole slew of supporting characters, such as Mikey's cousin Laura, Mikey's shy teacher Bob and his mother Bob-Mama who follows Bob everywhere and speaks on his behalf, as well as this guy:

OH! Mikey Posted by Hello

I posted that picture on a message board, and someone thought it was David Bowie.

Nightmare fuel content aside (you mostly get over the "they're all mannequins" gag within a few minutes), the dialogue and situations in the show are actually really damn funny. Fortunately for us, the DVDs of the series contain English language subtitles so we can all follow along. Unfortunately, the DVDs are Region 2 only and are thus only available at places like J-list (whose owner, Peter Payne, is an absolute loony despite being the guy who provided Seishun Shitemasu with the To-Y LD so many years ago). Mikeymania runs wild over six discs, and at $40 a disc from J-List with running times of about 35-40 minutes each, they're not a bargain by any stretch of the imagination. I've managed to get copies of the first two volumes, and should have a copy of the third volume within the next few days. However, volumes 4 through 6 elude me.

Here's the official Japanese site, but since that's not much help to most of us, there's also an English language fan site. I plan to introduce one clip worth of this into the Panel OF DOOM tomorrow night, and since the convention sprang me with the news that "hey, you have to do another panel Saturday night even though the con's in three days because somehow we got the impression that you were doing two panels even though you never once said that yourself," I'll do a special one hour showing of OH! Mikey the following night. I'll include how well that went over in my con report, which might be delayed a day or two since they picked this weekend to play Steamboy in exactly one theater in the state, which means I'll have to drive to Daytona tomorrow, do the con, then on Sunday drive to Orlando for the movie, then drive home.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

AnimeHELL at KamiKazeCon in Houston

I have confirmed that OtakuHELL is scheduled to run at KamiKazeCon in Houston, TX on Friday March 25th. We'll post the time and location of the HELLevent as soon as we know. See you there on Good Friday...