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Just because I am the Psychotaku, doesn't mean games are all I think about. Here are the things I find interesting, check it out

Wednesday
Jun022010

Fanime 2010

Retro Dojo is back from Fanime and it was awesome!  It has changed a lot since I last went.  I went to the first Fanime, at Foothill college and it consisted of one theatre and two vendors.  At the time, I was not that impressed.  But this time, there was a huge dealers hall, plenty of panels, and a game hall that rivaled the dealers hall.  The game hall was what impressed me the most about this con.   They had arcade machines, a huge setup for home consoles, another huge setup for PC gaming, stacks and stacks of board games, and it was open 24 hours.  I've been to a lot of cons and usually when the dealers hall closes, the con pretty much dies out.  But with a 24 hour game hall, the party continues all night long!

Thank you everyone, who attended our panel.  It was a huge success!  Those who attended got to see the new episode of the Psychotaku!  I'll be putting up a series of videos covering the con as well as our panel shortly.  Make sure to come down next year!

Tuesday
Jun012010

How'd he do that?

Alright so I admit it. I’m a thief. I totally stole this from Geekologie. But in my defense one, it was so freakin’ cool I had to share and number two, they found it on youtube. Why are all the cool videos from Japan? Does it just mean they have waaaaay too much free time? On behalf of my peoples, YES, yes we do. But hey, at least we make cool videos that the rest of the world can enjoy and waste time at work watching, right?

Honestly, if you aren’t checking out Geekologie, you really should be it’s a really cool website that has all of this geek news. Or just news that’s awesome! Wait aren’t they one in the same?

Tuesday
Jun012010

Jump Super Stars and Kinnikuman DVDs!

This past Friday I was down at Book Off. Book Off is a used Japanese Book Store chain. It’s huge in Japan and they have a few stores in the Los Angeles Area. It’s pretty cool because not only do they have used manga in both Japanese and English, but they also have toys and import and domestic video games, cds and dvds. It’s a haven for otakus everywhere.

I was perusing through the aisles of manga, looking for nothing in particular, when my girlfriend popped in front of me holding the DS import game “Jump Super Stars”. Now growing up all my life reading “Jump” in Japanese I grew up with every character in the compilation comic. Even those titles which didn’t care for, “Slam Dunk”, “Prince of Tennis”, “Hikaru no Go”, being the good old school otaku that I am I have adequate knowledge on each of the series. (But being a bad otaku, I didn’t own the game.) And with a $19 price tag I instantly snatched it up.

Why didn’t I own this game? The funny thing is, is that there is a chain of electronic stores in my area called “Fry’s Electronics.” that had the game. And this store was not an import game store. Randomly they would have Japanese games. But like the online import game stores “Jump Super Stars” had a hefty price of $50 and I’m not paying that much for a portable game. The irony being, in my younger days I purchased the import “Turbo Express”, also known as the “PC Engine GT” for around $500. Hey! I was young and stupid.

I am aware that “Jump Ultimate Stars” exists. And I kept thinking that on the ride home. Why should I buy this game when I know the sequel is out there. I only assume that the game is better and I know the roster is so much more huge. But I did get the game for $19 and I would have been a fool to pass up that price. So I popped the game in and to my surprise I was hooked instantly. I don’t know about you but playing all my favorite characters from the “Jump” lineup, is a dream come true. Not only that, I drew more joy from the way you unlocked said characters. Basically you have a panel from the manga with the character missing. So you must use your manga knowledge and match the character to the quote, brilliant! But based on the box art one character seems to be missing. My favorite character from my favorite manga/anime, Kinnikuman. Which is a nice segue into the second find at Book Off!

Kinnikuman DVDs. Alright, so if you’re unaware, Kinnikuman has not come to the states. Well, not in classic Anime form anyways. (You all know about M.U.S.C.L.E. men and Ultimate Muscle.) So a year back when I saw these on the Book Off shelves I snatched them up… only to see a fat $75 price tag on the box. I may be a huge Kinnikuman fan, but I’m a huge “broke” Kinnikuman fan. Now in Japan the going price for one of these DVDs is $100. It’s super pricey. However there are 10 episodes on 2 DVDs in the package so that makes it about $10 per episode. (Funny thing that US DVD prices aren’t that far away, $30 for 4 episodes. Bleh!) On my last trip to Japan, I picked up a few used copies for $60 each. (I was on vacation and Kinnikuman is my favorite series so… don’t judge me!) So even though the price was fair (import tax and all) there was no way I was picking up these DVDs. Until Friday.

The Kinnikuman DVDs were marked down to $30 a piece! Holy Bazinga-man! That’s $3 per episode of my favorite series that has no chance of seeing American shores ever! So what’s a good otaku supposed to do? I wasn’t planning on spending $79 today ($19 Jump Super Stars + $60 for 2 Kinnikuman DVDs) but that is a deal too good to pass up!

Have any good stories about Otaku Deals? Please share.

Tuesday
Jun012010

Snorkling, and Scam Artists

This past week I was lucky enough to go to Hawaii. Hawaii’s great because it’s like a state sized Japan Town. It’s not quite Japan but the influence is awesome. You can get Japanese food everywhere and most of the signs are also in Japanese. At the same time, everyone speaks English, because obviously it’s America. One huge Japan Town.

My favorite thing about Hawaii is the water. It’s so warm, clear and with the right equipment you can see fish swim right by. By right equipment I mean goggles and a snorkel. If you go to the island of Oahu, Hanauma Bay is a must. It’s $7 per person to get in but it’s totally worth it. You know all of the cool fish you see in “Finding Nemo”? That’s what it’s basically like, swimming in an aquarium. This time I even got to see a sea turtle! It was so cool. But remember to bring food, because as far as I could tell there were no vendors.

My least favorite thing was the pushy vendors. Now I was in Waikiki, a huge tourist trap, and I’m not saying they’re all scam artists, but there was this one place that just made me feel uncomfortable like I was in Las Vegas. For example my girlfriend saw a teapot that she wanted and the vendor was all up in our grill. She showed us a matching tea cup and saucer set which we agreed to get. We agreed with the saleslady to pay $47 for the teapot and cup set, but told her we don’t have the cash, so we’ll be right back. She kept talking to keep us there even though we would’ve been right back. Finally she agreed to take $15 in cash and $32 on a card. But then things got crazy. After she took the cash and we signed the receipt, she told us we owed her another $10! Can you believe it? We had to stay there another 10 minutes arguing with her until finally I put my foot down and told her we’re either taking the merchandise or the money back, but assured her there was going to be no new exchange of cash. She begrudgingly bagged our goods… slowly. And we left.

I don’t mean to sound racist, but I felt like I was in a Russel Peters comedy sketch.

I swear at one part of the conversation this woman told me to be a man, and the crazy thing is that I think she was directing that comment at my girlfriend.

The energy it took to not be swindled amounted to more than $10. I feel like she got an extra $50 of my time and patience. I’m not a bargaining kind of guy. Never have been. But I’ve never experienced the price going up even after we’d agreed and payment had been exchanged. The nerve of some people.

But all in all, it was a pretty awesome vacation. We drove all over the island and actually stopped at some interesting places. Include the Dole Plantation, which has the largest hedge maze in the world. (According to Guiness 2001)

Tuesday
Jun012010

Iron Man 2

I saw Ironman 2 over the weekend. This movie was supposed to be the end all be all movie of the year for me. The first Ironman movie blew me away as far as expectations go. It had everything. The armor was perfect, the references to the comic book were as close as one can be in a movie, and the changes were acceptable. (The middle east, a new power core, Jarvis being the house computer.) All of my comic book movie dreams had come true in one movie. Had the sequel done the same? Spiderman 2 had. And Spiderman 3/Xmen 3 were disappointments beyond belief. Where does Ironman 2 stand?

Now if you saw that trailer, and I did, you would’ve been totally pumped for the movie, and I was. Ironman 2 was good. It didn’t blow me away like Spiderman 2. It didn’t leave me with a bunch of questions like Xmen 2. And it didn’t leave me dying like Spiderman 3/Xmen 3 did. I think I was just disappointed that there wasn’t more. I know there was a lot. Newcomers Scarlet Johansson, Don Cheadle and Sam Jackson were excellent in their roles, as were the rest of the cast. It was just that the first movie left me with a sense of pride. Pride for the culture of comics and how far all of us had come. To finally get a bit of comic book film perfection. Some of you may say that Ironman wasn’t perfect. There were flaws, but I say if you nitpick, everything will reveal flaws. The first movie gave a sense of wonderment, exploration and growth. We see Tony Stark and his love for fast cars, loose women and his sense of immortality. This world comes crashing down as he is stripped of all of these things along with his freedoms that he has taken for granted. And then we witness his transformation mentally as well as physically as he builds the Mark I prototype armor, makes you believe a man can fly, (I mean no disrespect Christopher Reeve) and saves the world with his sleek awesome Mark III Ironman armor. From the opening shrapnel sequence to the “I am Ironman”, we are treated to a nonstop rollercoaster ride, that I got to enjoy 3 times in the theater.

Now I’m not saying Ironman 2 was bad, quite the opposite. It was really good. It just had huge expectations to overcome. And I think the movie failed in that regard. Yes, the suitcase sequence was badass, but some of the punch was taken away, because we knew what was coming. It’s in the trailer. The final battle was good, I have no problem with it. I was just hoping for something more epic. There was no time where I was like, “Oh man, how are Robert and Don getting out of this one.” No. It’s Ironman and Warmachine. They are going to PWN some fools. And they did. Which was cool. I just thought “The Dude” in “The Iron Monger” was a little more intimidating. And I enjoyed Sam Jackson, knocking Tony Stark down a peg or two.

I’m planning on getting Ironman 2 when it comes out on BlueRay so obviously I liked the movie a lot. It’s just that I NEEDED Ironman on BlueRay when I left the theater two years ago. And I guess that’s the deciding factor between a really good movie and a great movie… isn’t that right Mr. Fox?