Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Composer Shout Out: Yuji Ohno

For my money, one of the best composers in the music business would have to be Yuji Ohno. This guys is mostly known for his work on just about anything that has to do with Lupin III. After the last few weeks, it's hard for me not to think of Ohno's compositions when Lupin comes to mind. (I've been listening to his various albums to get my jazz fix.)

Ohno's works are primarily jazz-inspired and even some of his earliest efforts on Lupin music in the '70s is still considered extraordinary. Not only has he covered music for the various Lupin series and movies, he's also done music for all three PS2 Lupin games.

The man is also an accomplished musical genius even when he isn't working on music for Lupin. Tokyo City Lights is a jazz masterpiece.

If you want to hear some of Ohno's work, just check out this YouTube page with various uploads.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dragon Ball Z: Got Milk?

DBZ his a very popular anime, but you already know that. From VHS to DVDs and remastered DVD box sets, the series has seen multiple releases. The Funimation Remastered Box Sets
should have been the last of the DVDs that a DBZ fan would have to buy. Each box set contains over 30 episodes, is remastered and in 16:9. (you'd be surprised how many people bemoaned the cropping among other things), the option for English or Japanese voices, the option to watch in either language and mix up the American and Japanese soundtracks in your viewing, and only run you $34.99. Not a bad deal. All nine seasons are DBZ are available in this format. So that should be all the DBZ you need, right? You should be done buying DBZ DVDs, right?

And shortly after season nine dropped Funimation announces plans to release the Dragon Boxes. What are the Dragon Boxes? These were originally released by Toei in Japan of 2003 and where Japanese viewers chance to finally own the series on DVD, thought it was limited through preoders. Also, the viewing frames are in 4:3, the original viewing format, and the remastering is even higher than that of Funimation's Remastered Box Sets.

You may be asking "Why didn't Funimation just release this to begin with?!" Well, they had to go through Toei to do that and they just wouldn't have it at first, but that's now a thing of the past. The Funimation Dragon Boxes will be released in 7 volumes. Now here's the real kicker. While Funi's Remastered Box Sets only ran you $34.99 with over 30 episodes each, the Dragon Boxes will go for $79.99 ($55.99 in some places) with roughly 40 episodes per volume. Let me say that again in case you missed it. The Dragon Boxes are going to cost even more than the Funi Remastered Boxes. That's basically even more money for one season. Oh, but you get better remastered quality and full screen. Call me crazy, but I think that's a ripoff.

The messed up thing is, some fans are so hardcore and just have to have their stuff in perfect quality that they will shell out the cash for this without thinking twice about it. I mean, if you've got a disposable income, than that's great, but even if I still did have that kinda money, that's some bait I don't think I'd bite.

"But it's the definitive DBZ experience!" Yeah, sure it is, until Dragon Ball Kai gets a DVD release. What's Dragon Ball Kai? It's DBZ with much clear, smoother animation and coloring. Oh and much of the filler is removed. On episode 29, Vegeta has already teamed up with Krillin and Gohan to oppose the Ginyu Force. Where as DBZ was originally 291 episodes, DB Kai is looking to be around 100 episodes or so. So after you buy the Dragon Boxes and Kai shows up on DVD, how screwed over are you going to feel?

Hey, I love DBZ as much as the next guy, but there comes a time when a guy has gotta send a message to the money grubbers in charge and let them know they can't keep milking things like a cow. Poor Betsy is screaming for mercy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dragon Ball Manga Again

I didn't begin reading manga until 2003 and the first manga I ever picked up were the first two volumes of Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z. In Japan, the whole manga is known as just Dragon Ball. Despite already knowing a good deal of the story because I'd already seen the anime, the manga was no less enjoyable. On the contrary. I feel like I was able to get a much better appreciation for Akira Toriyama's art since it was in comic form.

It took nearly 4 years, but in 2006, I'd finally had the DB and DBZ manga in it's combined 42 volume entirety. This week, I decided to start reading it all over from the beginning. I'm already on volume 3 of DB.

The 16 volumes of DB that I own are the smaller versions with red covers with the old VIZ logo. These particular versions are completely unedited. When VIZ thought they could market the manga to an even younger crowd, they began censoring the DB and DBZ manga, much to many fans dismay. The VIZ Big editions of DB and DBZ, which collect 3 volumes of each respective manga in one big book are also edited. The editing mostly consists of middle fingers turned to fists, nudity (Bulma), and some toned down violence. It's a shame, but if you're buying DB manga, I recommend picking up the VIZ Big versions. The manga is printed on bigger and better paper and the covers are slightly improved.

Who knows, maybe one day VIZ will go back to unedited manga like they do for the graphic novels of Bleach.