Movie Monday: School of Rock

This week for Movie Monday I’m back with a movie that was okay, and actually inspired a TV series. It’s School of Rock!

Plot Synopsis: No Vacancy, a rock band, performs at a nightclub three weeks before auditioning for the Battle of the Bands. Guitarist Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, including a failed stage dive that abruptly ends the performance. The next morning, Dewey wakes in the apartment he lives in with Ned Schneebly and his girlfriend, Patty Di Marco. They inform him he must make up for his share of the rent or move out. When Dewey meets No Vacancy at a rehearsal session, he finds out that he has been replaced by another guitarist named Spider. Later, while attempting to sell some of his equipment for rent money, Dewey answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the Horace Green prep school, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher. Desperate for money, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired.

Plot: The plot is okay, but not super deep or amazing. It’s fun though and was a good film to watch for those younger.

Casting: The entire is cast is pretty awesome, with Jack Black portraying Dewey Finn. Dewey is the star of the show though and much of the film revolves around him a bit too much.

Cinematography: There is no amazing special effects along the lines of a Fantasy or Sci-Fi movie, but it’s not terribly shot either. Adequate would be the term I’d use to describe it in one word.

Music: Obviously being a major theme of the movie, the Music was pretty awesome. It’s got it’s own goofy spin on it, but it’s pretty good.

Overall: A fun movie, but not a must watch.

For those who like: Comedy, Jack Black, Music, Teaching, Redemption Stories?

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Manga Monday: The Concours by Jeong Seol Hwa

This week for Manga Monday I’m covering a Korean Manwha I stumbled across recently. It’s The Concours by Jeong Seol Hwa!

Plot Synopsis: Ho-Kyung likes the violin, but born to a normal family, he has no intention of pursuing it as a career. When he was young, it was the small violin given to him by his friend Uiju that created the small passage connecting him to music. Now as a high school student, one accident destroys the precious violin and leads Ho-Kyung to an encounter with the violin repair workshop…

Plot: First let me say that I was only able to find a single chapter translated into English and as I have no clue how to even begin to read Korean I didn’t go take a peek at the untranslated material. That being said I enjoyed this first chapter quite a bit and it was interesting. I won’t say more because of spoilers, but I am hoping to continue reading this series in the future.

Characters: Ho-Kyung is a pretty interesting main character. While he doesn’t particularly look or act like a musician he seems earnest in enjoying his hobby of playing the violin. Uiju his friend is an interesting character as well, I’m hoping we get more from him in future chapters. The rest of the cast was also interesting, but the focus was definitely on Ho-Kyung.

Art: The art is very good, and while it’s doesn’t reach Shueisha levels it’s not that far from that point.

Overall: A very interesting series, worth a look at by anyone who loves Music. Hopefully additional chapters are translated in the future.

For those who like: Music, Slice of Life, Drama, Interesting Plot, Great Cast of Characters, Excellent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Boku wa Beatles by Fujii Tetsuo

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got a Quick Review for a series that I stumbled across recently. It’s Boku wa Beatles by Fujii Tetsuo!

Plot Synopsis: This is the tale of a Beatles Cover Band named The Fab 4 that is on the verge of breaking up due to inner conflicts in the year 2011. They all love The Beatles, but when they get into an argument in a subway….

Plot: The plot of this first chapter is all setup for the series, and while I won’t spoil the plot, I will say I was intrigued by the concept behind the series. You’ll know what I mean when you get to the end of the first chapter. Now as to the musical side I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, and their last song they played in this chapter was Yesterday. That particular song was the first ever song I sang in Choir class all the way back in middle school, so it’s got special meaning to me.

Characters: Rei and Makoto are the two big stars of this first chapter, but the entire band is pretty interesting. While we aren’t shown a whole bunch of their backstory yet, I’m sure we’ll get to see more later on.

Art: The art is awesome, and frankly I wouldn’t have been surprised to see that this was in a Shueisha publication, but it actually isn’t one.

Overall: If you love music, and especially if you love The Beatles, do yourself a favor and read this series. This first chapter was excellent.

For those who like: Music, The Beatles, Rock, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Charcaters,

Manga Monday: Piano no Mori by Isshiki Makoto

piano_no_mori

This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Piano no Mori by Isshiki Makoto!

Plot Synopsis: A tranquil tale about Amamiya Shuhei, who transfers to Moriwaki Elementary filled with hope and ambition about his new life. But it doesn’t take long before he gets picked on by the class bullies, and gets involved in a dare to play the mysterious piano in the forest, leading to his meeting an enigmatic child that goes by the name of Ichinose Kai …

Plot: This first chapter’s plot is pretty decent. It’s nothing spectacular mind, but it isn’t terrible either. The series probably gets better considering that it’s an award winning series, but I didn’t have the time to read past the first chapter.

Characters: Shuhei is a pretty normal character, frankly he’s pretty much a side character in this first chapter, with the spotlight being switched to Kai almost immediately upon his appearance. I’m hoping the characters get a bit more mature though as the series progresses, and like I said above given that this is an award winning series it will probably happen. Kai is pretty foul mouthed for a 10 year old kid, but he seems to be have more depth than Shuhei based solely off this chapter.

Art: The art is okay, it’s got an old timey feel, but isn’t quite as timeless as something from Urasawa like his work on 20th Century Boys. It probably improves over the course of the series, but this first chapter wasn’t super impressive.

Overall: I’m giving this a go ahead solely because of the Award Winning tag I saw in the genre descriptions. Hopefully it proves to be a bit more captivating as the series goes on.

For those who like: Music, Slice of Life, School Life, Drama, Interesting Plot, Decent Characters, Good Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Comiket

comiket

Hey all I’m going to cover a pretty special event that happens twice a year in Japan for this week’s Manga Monday, and I promise it’s at least semi-relevant! It’s all about Comiket, short for Comic Market!

What is Comiket about?: It’s essentially a huge freaking convention that’s held twice a year and is a huge garage sale for those aspiring independent artists of all sorts. It originally started with just Manga, but has since expanded to include animated and audio work! Some of the most famous creative groups in Japan started out as Doujin Artists, the Japanese term for Indies. I’ve mentioned this before in previous articles, but CLAMP is probably the best known here in the west.

How big is it?: I’ll just quote Wikipedia on this one, as it’s a rather impressive figure. “The first Comiket was held on December 21, 1975, with only about 32 participating circles and an estimated 600 attendees. Attendance has since swelled to over a half million people.” A later figure is also pretty impressive just regarding finding things you might find interesting. “The Comiket Catalog contains information about the buyers and sellers at Comiket, and other general event information. It is available in print and DVD-ROM format, and as of Comiket 83 is available freely online. The print version is roughly the size of an average phone book. It contains lists of all the participating circles, maps of the convention layout, maps and directions to get to and from the convention, rules for the convention, results from surveys held among Comiket participants, articles about topics relevant for dōjinshi creators, and one to two pictures (“circle cuts”) for every participating circle.”

 

Holy crap right? All of this is for those independent artists who work on their own original works or already pre-established works. This is a grey area in the law currently, but as no self respecting Mangaka would be mad at someone going through the trouble of making their work more popular they don’t ever press charges.

This is a huge “free” (as in free trade) market and is why I think the TPP is just a bunch of bullshit that greedy copyright trolls and ISPs want to pass to further their own interests. It would outright destroy this event and destroy so many possible artists futures that I find it unforgivable. So like I’ve been preaching for the last few weeks get on your governmental representatives cases on this and tell them to stop supporting greedy bastards who already take too much money from the small folks.

That’s it for this week’s Manga Monday, see you next week!

Video Game Tuesday: Licensing

cryengine

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering an important part of making a game! It’s all about Licensing!

What do you mean a License?: Well it’s allowing someone to use someone else’s software for your own use. For example if you own Photoshop you have a license to use it for your own purposes whatever they may be.

What does that mean in a game?: Game companies often license out their own software that they use to make games, often called a game engine. Some prominently and well known ones are Cryengine, Unreal Engine and Unity. This isn’t the only thing though that is licensed for use in games.

What else?: Here is the real big issue that’s affecting lots of people these days. It’s the music that the game has, it has a different set of copyright laws and while they are fine for personal use (read: for you to play the game); it often isn’t okay for it to be used for other than that. So if you stream or make Let’s Plays of games you need to be really careful of what you use the background music for. Grand Theft Auto V for example has a bunch of actual music in the radio stations, along with some “in-game” music as well. If you aren’t careful and you violate the license you will probably get your videos taken down. It’s frustrating for localization as well, but that’s a topic for another week.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Manga Monday: Soul CatcherS by Shinkai Hideo

soul_catchers

This week for Manga Monday I’m covering a series I recently started reading and found to be quite good. It’s Soul CatcherS by Shinkai Hideo!

Plot Synopsis: Kamine Shuuta is a person who can see a person’s heart (literally) whether it’s angry, wounded, broken, guarded, troubled etc… and because of this he’s at his wits end, because he can’t do anything about it.

Tokisaka Hibiki is a saxophonist in the music club. Shuuta first listens to his saxophone on the terrace and wanted to ask something but Shuuta tells him to come to his performance later in the ongoing school festival. After seeing Hibiki’s performance, he see the notes of music as hands which can heal the wounded, tend the broken, break the shielded hearts: in other words “seize the soul” of a person.

After the performance Shuuta asks Hibiki if there isn’t a person to whom his sound doesn’t reach. Shuuta says although Hibiki’s sounds can seize hearts of others and move them, his own heart is guarded and is unmoved and troubled.

Plot: The plot isn’t anything super serious, and it follows the Shonen model pretty closely, but it does it in a way that makes it fun. I really do enjoy the plot, and I hope the series doesn’t get axed.

Characters: Kamine has a pretty neat ability, being able to see people’s emotions and while that makes him an interesting lead, it’s really the rest of the Concert Band that makes the series good. We’ve got a ton of characters that just make for interesting foils to Kamine and Tokisaka’s attitudes.

Art: The art is standard Shonen fare, but it does it very well, managing to make conducting a band seem exciting and interesting.

Overall: This is a great series, and I’d suggest reading the beginning chapter at the very least.

For those who like: Music, Drama, Excellent Artwork, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.