Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Morbo Demands You Watch The Following


Seriously, there's no telling if footage of the Futurama panel at San Diego Comic Con will be taken down. But aside from news about its imminent return, the cast did a table read of the free Futurama comic that was given to the attendees. The comic itself is about the crew's experience with cancellation, reruns, and such. It's one of the most postmodern things you can experience right now.

I would've gone to Comic Con for this reason alone but the event is progressively becoming more inaccessible. With the overcrowding, tickets unavailable at the door, and steep prices, Comic Con might well be on its way to becoming the next E3. By that, I mean getting so wild and exclusive that the geek energies within cause it to implode and sink into the ocean. Think that final scene in Spider-Man 2 but with thousands of physically and socially awkward people.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Hulk Franchise Getting Fresh Coat Of Green Paint



This image was released at Comic-Con, to build hype for the upcoming Incredible Hulk remake starring Ed Norton. I know that "reimagining" a superhero movie franchise is all the rage these days. It worked for Batman and Superman - but isn't there a minimum time frame required before you completely scrap the last movie and start all over? I think we can all agree that the last Hulk movie sucked pretty bad. Nobody is arguing with that. But seriously, it feels like it just came out yesterday. Are they even allowed to do that? Did they call do-over on Hulk?

If Batman Begins is any indication of what's to come, we might be seeing a darker, moodier Hulk movie with more character-driven plot and a lot less nipple action. Also, with Ed Norton as the lead, I can't get the image of Ol' Green Jeans providing some brutal curb-biting justice, American History X-style. But I guess that's too much to hope for.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Jasman Toys Scores A Running Riot


News from the San Diego Comic Con reveals that Jasman Toys will be releasing Covenant weapons in conjunction with the arrival of Halo 3 in October. Their press release says:

For every Halo™ fan that has fantasized about being part of the action, Jasman Toys introduces its line of Halo 3 Covenant Weapons with Laser Pursuit technology! Bring all the action of the popular video game to life with these full-size replica weapons that perform just like the ones in the game: vibration, sounds, lights and recoil, all packaged into heavy metal and plastic bodies. These realistic weapons even offer the most intricate features; when the Plasma Rifle “overheats,” the heat exchange flanges pop open! An infrared beam and target register hits on an LCD counter, allowing you to recreate the game with friends; capture the flag, team battle, free-for-all. The possibilities are endless! Find out who has what it takes to be Master Chief.

Now this is what I'm talking about. While it might seem a bit steep with the plasma rifle going for $120 and the plasma pistol going for $80, you gotta realize how much better a game of laser tag is when compared to playing against people online. Just try imagining how things like pistol whipping someone from behind or corpse humping translates to real life. And like, you can use a bowling ball for Assault. And for vehicles, you can try using a jeep as a Warthog. And instead of using the laser features, you rig the weapons to fire off airsoft pellets. I'm just saying, the possibility of physical injury makes any game infinitely more intense.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Say Hello To My Little Friend


Times have been tough for a street performer such as myself. What with living statues, break dancing children, and Britney Spears all competing for everyone's attention, I needed something special to spice up my "Political Reviolution" violin act. Thank God for Wei Lieh Lee. With this little baby, people will start taking me seriously.

Although, it still doesn't do much considering the blazing summer weather. I'm thinking of taking my act over to a place with higher foot traffic and air conditioning. Someplace like the mall or even better, the airport. Come see me play the violin! I'll be wearing sunglasses and a black trench coat!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spreading The Message Of Okkusenman


Anyone that's played the Megaman series can tell you how great the music is. The music from Megaman 2's Dr. Wily Stage 1 is one of the more popular songs used for remixing. It's hard to say if anyone expected that the song would reach further levels of awesomeness by simply adding lyrics. That's how Okkusenman was created and unleashed upon an unsuspecting Japan. The lyrics are basically about childhood memories and getting courage from Ultraman. That's not what really matters.

Like most memes, what makes Okkusenman so great are the many different incarnations that continue to appear. Aside from the typical karaoke style, there are renditions done in death metal, with a choir and orchestra, and even the Mario Paint musical application. The live performances are especially awesome considering how one lead singer went all out by wearing a Megaman costume. My personal favorite would have to be the rendition done by these women. Then again, I have a thing for hot Asian women singing catchy tunes. It's too bad that the only people in the United States that try adding new lyrics to already rocking instrumentals are "artists" like Diddy and Will Smith. At least they aren't butchering the songs of our childhood cartoons and videogames.

Credit needs to be given to Shawn over at Digital Monkey Box for doing extensive research on Okkusenman over the past year.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Child Neglect Bridges Gap Between Jocks And Nerds


Jocks and nerds may not be so different after all. A pair of hardcore Green Bay Packers fans locked their 7-year-old boy in his room with a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly, and a bucket to use as a bathroom while they went to a local casino to watch Packers games. The kid would be responsible for cleaning the bucket. Not to be outdone by the sports nuts, another pair of parents neglected their 22-month-old son and 11-month-old daughter to the point of near death. The children were suffering from infection, dehydration, starvation, and muscular atrophy. The parents were evidently too distracted while playing Dungeons and Dragons online to properly care for their kids.

Aside from their dedication to child neglect, the parents do share some other interesting tidbits. Let's start with the football fanatics:

Hardrath's sister estimated after the hearing that the couple has acquired close to $1 million worth of Packers stuff over the years.

And now the gamers:
The couple reportedly spent a $50,000 inheritance on computer equipment and a plasma television.

These people may be morally bankrupt, but they aren't exactly poor. I'd like to think that because they're a little rich, they would be less inclined to sell their children in order to gain more money to spend on their respective hobbies. But then again, they'd probably eat their kids so they wouldn't have to waste precious dollars on groceries.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Kelly Brook Is Hotter Than You


As if women didn't have enough reasons to be ashamed of their bodies, The Mirror came out with an article that names Kelly Brook as the living embodiment of natural beauty. The article even lists her attributes along with the scientific reasoning as to why they make her perfect:

THE HAIR

Kelly has been blessed with naturally long, thick chestnut curls. Hair extensions are definitely not required. Shiny locks have long been a marker of health and therefore make a woman instantly more attractive to men.

THE FACE

Dr Ben Jones of Aberdeen University's Face Laboratory said: "Men from all cultures are drawn to a babyish face with big eyes and arched eyebrows which seem consistent with high oestrogen levels." Kelly ticks all the boxes.

THE BOOBS

Her 34E bust has no need of a silicone boost. But there are plenty of women who would kill for such curves...or at least pay a plastic surgeon to get them. One, Lisa Sacks says many of her clients beg her for boobs just like Kelly's.

THE WAIST

"Super-beautiful" women have waists a third smaller than their hips and three-quarters their bust measurement, say researchers at the University of Gdansk in Poland. There's no doubt, Kelly really shapes up in this area.

THE HIPS

Researchers at the University of Texas say the perfect woman's hip to waist ratio is 0.7 - her exact measurements. And no fellas, we don't know how you can get a job in the lucky depar tment where they carry out such studies.

THE LEGS

At 5ft 8in tall she has longer pins than the average woman which makes her, according to experts at the University of Gdansk, more beautiful. These guys clearly know their stuff.

While I do agree with Kelly Brook's sex appeal, this research is missing some vital statistics. If you were to look for an example of the perfect physical specimen, you might as well go all out on the research. How long is her tongue? Where is she pierced? Does her skin bruise easily from physical activities like spanking? How does she look when when wet? How about covered in honey? Bent over? Upside down? Or most importantly, the morning after in bed? These questions need to be answered and I'm more than willing to volunteer my services to find out.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

What Did The Five Fingers Say To The Face?


Say hello to Rose and Camellia. It's a flash game where the objective is to slap the taste out of your opponent's mouth. I have no idea why since the text is in Japanese but I don't really care. The controls are simple enough. You drag the attack and evade buttons in an arc across the screen. Time it properly, and you're well on your way to being the queen bitch of this manor. I can't stop playing this game. It's like Punch-Out, but better. Now if only the Japanese can make a game that's based around getting kicked in the nuts. Oh wait, they did.

Japanese Game Show - Kicked In The Nuts - The best home videos are here

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Gunbound Gangsters Bound For Jail


To many gamers around the world, Gunbound is simply a turn based shooting game. But for the top scorer, it wasn't all fun and games. The player, a native of Brazil, had his life threatened by a local gang. After luring him out to a planned date, the gang held the Gunbound player up at gunpoint in order to steal his account, which would then be sold to the highest bidder. Unfortunately for the gang, they were arrested before they could reach their mission objective. They forgot that crime doesn't pay. For these Brazilian punks, it's going to be game over.

So how were these criminals caught? I believe it had something to do with this:

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lia Elminated From Top Chef


The #1 Cooking show on TV just lost another contestant. In this weeks episode, the contestants were asked to to create a dish for the cast and crew of a telenovela, a Mexican soap opera. Though most dishes were spicy and flavorful, Lia tried to get crazy and do a salmon fillet on a polenta. Turns out that not only is this not a Mexican dish, it was also gross. So long Lia, we shall miss you!

In good news, our winner was Howie with a braised pork dish served with an onion salsa. Even though he won this week, he gave his prize to Joey, thinking that Joey's dish was truly the best one of the day. The prize was only a bottle of wine but for all of us alcoholics...a bottle of wine is quite an awesome prize. :) This loss comes a mere week after losing the cutest contestant ever on Top Chef. If anyone responsible for the show is reading this...bring back Camille!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter In The Chamber Of The BitTorrent


One notable quality of the Internet is that it has a tendency to spoil things – movies, books, television shows…most anything really. It doesn’t matter if it hasn't come out yet “officially.” You can find it on the Internet, guaranteed.

Sure enough, the final Harry Potter book has been leaked to BitTorrent, four days before it was set to be released in stores. It started on PirateBay, but its spread to a number of other BitTorrent sites already.

I actually knew some friends who were placing bets on how soon the final Harry Potter book was going to be leaked onto the Internet. No one was na├»ve enough to believe that it would survive until its official release date – we knew what age we lived in, and knew that someone out there would find a way to leak it.

Stuff like this simultaneously makes me a little bit happy and then very sad. Happy, because I know that the Internet is such a resource that I can always find what I need. Sad, because I hate the feeling of things being spoiled. And the second thing that occurs right after things like this happen is that some doosh-nozzle goes around and makes it a personal mission to spoil the book for everyone possible. Does everybody remember the YouTube video of the guy driving past the line waiting for the previous Harry Potter book and screaming out the window a massive spoiler for the book, since he had found it out online? Stuff like that saddens me.

I suppose it may have been a bit hypocritical for me to use lines like “we knew what age we lived in,” but still feel remorse over things like this. The world will always be filled with assholes, and the Internet gives them so many opportunities to flex their sphincters.

My only request is that if you do read the book before its official release date, keep it to yourself. Don’t be a dick.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scion The Sheeple Slayer


I forgot to mention Toyota's new Scion commercial when I went to go watch "Transformers." All the buzz over the movie itself and the Cloverfield trailer overshadowed this interesting little ad campaign.

In an attempt to make the Scion xD more appealing to the the youth market, ATTIK designed a campaign that channels Tim Burton and combines it with the interactive mayhem of videogames. The Little Deviant site serves as a short narrative game that puts you in the role of the demonic deviants. Your goal is to kill sheeple in various different ways so that you can collect their green blood to use as lubricant at the Scion factory. It's a fun little diversion similar to the games you can find on the Adult Swim website.

So does this make me want to buy a Scion? Not really. As much as I enjoy the idea of ripping apart cartoon sheeple with meat hooks, it doesn't change the fact that the Scion still looks like something only a pansy would drive.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Anime Expo Day 2

AX Day 2

I arrived on the Sunday of Anime Expo, determined to explore artists' alley and find something of great interest there. It didn't take long.

A print caught my eye; it was Yomi from Azumanga Daioh being woken up, surprisedly, by the Burger King. Nice. I flipped through an artbook to find a print of Osaka from Azumanga Daioh giving the Canadian Destroyer to Chiyo, and Osaka dressed as AJ Styles. Somehow he had managed to meld pro wrestling and anime well. I bought all three prints, and proceeded to take a video of the artist. You can find his work at dragonshock.com and vectorstudios.com.









There was another wing of artists alley that housed all Japanese artists. I heard they came from some technical college. Their stuff was ridiculously leaps and bounds above the people they were sitting next to.

At 11 AM, I went to the DrMaster panel. DrMaster is notable for publishing the King of Fighters Taiwanese graphic novel in America. They also do other Taiwanese stuff, and manga like Iron Wok Jan. I wanted to see what they could tell me about any upcoming King of Fighters projects.

Within five minutes, it was clear these people had no idea what they were talking about. Not only could they not pronounce ANY of the author's names (I can forgive the inability to pronounce someone's name if they are foreign in most cases, but THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL SOMEONE'S FUCKING WORK HERE), but THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT SOME OF THE BOOKS WERE ABOUT.

Let me repeat that. This is the industry's most prominent tradeshow.

THEY DID NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WERE SELLING.

There were about 25 or so people at this panel, and 5 of them were furiously taking notes, presumably for anime news websites.

After that, I went to the Shin Chan screening, where the English voice actors were going to do a short QA. Of course, the English voice actors no-showed, continuing the theme of the night.

The Atlus USA panel was full when I went to it, which was the last event I was interested in.

All in all, it's not an event I could recommend. Everything was too spread out, and there was no sense of camaraderie. Well, at the very least, there was some neat cosplay.








And this one's for you, Torrin.


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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Steven Seagal Readies To Kick Some More Ass


The Associated Press has a story about how Steven Seagal is suing his former law firm for charging him excessive fees. The article says:

Nasso produced films with Seagal in the 1990s and was accused of trying to extort money from the actor after they dissolved their partnership, according to the suit.

Loeb & Loeb charged Seagal nearly $1.1 million, according to the court papers, filed Thursday.

Seagal paid about $500,000 but became skeptical and obtained a legal audit that determined he was "substantially overcharged," according to the lawsuit. Seagal is seeking at least $450,000 in general damages.

Steven Seagal? Extortion? Dissolved partnership? Large amounts of money? This has "action movie" written all over it. The only thing missing is a wise-cracking, yet street tough partner for Seagal. I'm thinking Xzibit. It can be called "Hard Knock Agency" and culminate in an epic courtroom brawl with the duo fighting back to back against an army of lawyers, security, judges, jury, and the sexy femme fatale stenographer played by Tia Carrere. Seagal and Xzibit lose and go to jail, but the movie ends with a shot of the two of them giving each other approving nods as they get in fighting positions and start a prison riot.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Arcanna Likes To Keep Possibilities Open


Did I say possibilities? I meant legs. Just about every panel she's appeared in so far in the "Ultimate Power" miniseries has been while in the good ol' spread eagle position. I guess it's to be expected in a comic that's "drawn" by Greg Land. Issue #6 finally puts a stop to that, although the possibilities do remain open as to how it actually happened.


I mean really, I don't even understand how two women can make love. I mean unless they kinda just scissor or something.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

GTA Fights War On Terror With Words


WKTT Talk Radio, one of the new radio stations appearing in the latest GTA, is looking for people to phone-in and leave their thoughts about various topics. The WKTT Radio site says:

Call the station right now at 212-360-2368 and tell us what you think is wrong with Liberty City, American, Liberals, or your health. Tell the host you love the show. He likes that.

I hope someone finds a subtle way to make fun of Jack Thompson or any of those other bleeding heart liberals that are trying to link videogame violence with real life violence. That line of thinking gets me so mad that I sometimes black out. I always end up waking in front of some retirement home with what looks like red corn syrup on my hands. Since I don't actually get hurt by these incidents, I think nothing more of them. What was I saying again? Oh yeah, GTA is awesome.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Marc Owens Realistically Simulates Videogames In Real Life


This is the Avatar Machine. Marc Owens, its designer, describes his work as:

The virtual communities created by online games have provided us with a new medium for social interaction and communication. Avatar Machine is a system which replicates the aesthetics and visuals of third person gaming, allowing the user to view themselves as a virtual character in real space via a head mounted interface. The system potentially allows for a diminished sense of social responsibility, and could lead the user to demonstrate behaviors normally reserved for the gaming environment.

I've gotta hand it to him. He faithfully recreates the feel of third person perspective in videogames. Just check out the way the whole body has to turn to change the field of view. With the camera dangling several feet behind the user, it can also simulate the way game cameras snag on nearby structures. I bet wearing that cushioned body suit also gives the user a false sense of protection from physical harm. Add some fun little toys like an aluminum bat or an airsoft gun and before you know it, you're killing hobos and corpse humping their lifeless faces.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Resident Evil Back In Black


The Resident Evil 5 trailer shown at E3 earlier this week revealed even more details about the game. And frankly, it wouldn't be a Resident Evil game if it didn't contain opportunities for (un-?)intentional racism. Not to be outdone by the portrayal of the Spanish in part 4, this installment drops the player off in a war torn African nation. Take some "Black Hawk Down," mix with some "28 Days Later," and you've got yourself the next chapter of survival horror. You can watch the trailer here. A longer version is scheduled to come out later this month.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Greek" And Why All Television Shows About College Fail


Last night was the premiere of ABC Family's "Greek." Minutes into the show, I started to get some deja vu. I had seen this type of programming before: new kid in a new setting, a fight with the arrogant and established pretty face, popularity contests, running for president of an organization, a house party, etc. It's the same type of story you'd find in "Mean Girls," "The O.C." or "Dawson's Creek." And that's exactly what "Greek" is. It's nothing more than a high school drama that happens to be set in college. Rather than trash "Greek" for that, I give the writers credit for coming up with a slightly innovative approach to a college show.

You see, all television shows about college are destined to fail. The main problem is maintaining audience interest. There are three kinds of people in the potential audience:
1) Those that plan on going to college
2) Those that haven't gone or have no plans to go to college
3) Those that are currently attending or have already been in college.
How can a college show entertain any of these people?

The first group is the easiest demographic. They're curious about the college lifestyle and will accept any depiction of drama and debauchery. But given the content constraints of television, let alone that "Greek" is on ABC Family, this depiction will be watered down. This group will eventually wise up and realize that they can find better material in R-rated and even PG-13-rated college movies.

The second group is similar to the first group in that they have no experience of the college lifestyle. However, they're less likely to connect with the show because they inherently have less interest about college. They'll be watching for other reasons, like character relationships. They'll realize that they can find the same thing in a program with a more interesting hook to the individual, like a police or hospital show.

The third group is the trickiest and most critical. They are able to watch the show and compare it to their own experiences. They are able to recognize the flaws of using college as the premise for a show. College campuses are fairly unique, especially when compared to the nostalgic view of the standardized public high school. Concepts that make college enjoyable, like independence and social networking, are hard to capture on a show. The common ground individuals in this demographic will share have to do with final exams and roommates. And those aren't the most interesting of topics to watch on television. They will react like the other two groups by finding better material in other movies and genres.

This is a losing battle for any show. Unfortunately, "Greek" makes it even more difficult by limiting their audience to fans of teen drama. I'll watch a couple more episodes before giving the show a real review. But given examples set by shows like "Saved by the Bell: The College Years," "Undeclared," and "Undergrads," I doubt "Greek" will last long enough for me to do so. At least the characters look like college students.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Good News, Everyone


Fans of Futurama won't have to wait until 2008 to get a glimpse at the upcoming episodes slated to air on Comedy Central. The San Diego Comic-Con released its full programming schedule, which revealed this golden nugget:

Matt Groening is proud to announce the long-awaited return of the animated sci-fi comedy classic Futurama! Matt and executive producer David X. Cohen will be on the dais, accompanied by writer Ken Keeler, animation directors Peter Avanzino and Dwayne Carey-Hill, and for the first time together on stage in any universe, actors Billy West (Fry), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), and Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker)! The cast and crew will entertain your questions and present a sneak peek at Bender’s Big Score! in glorious wide-screen format! Moderated by Bill Morrison.

One scene has Fry complaining to his crewmates about how all good shows on television get cancelled. Leela then turns on the TV and points out that Fox has been running new episodes of the Simpsons nonstop for more than a thousand years. Fry counters by saying that the current season is composed only of clip shows running different combinations of shots spliced from the Simpsons' 999-year-long televised history, its feature films, music videos, Troy McClure and Ralph spin-offs, and commercials for Butterfinger, CC Lemon, KFC, Mastercard, Slurm, and Fishy Joe's.

Nah, I'm just joshing ya. But wouldn't that be funny if it were true? Anyway, here's more art from Space Coyote:


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Sunday, July 8, 2007

FBI Tries To Fight Zombie Hordes!!!


That's right, our wonderful Federal Bureau of Investigation is now taking on the undead. This is so cool, we are finally in the war between the living and the not. Get your bat or shotty and aim high because it's every living being for itself. The agency said:

the zombies or bots were "a growing threat to national security".

Wait a sec... Dammit. Even though these are the right quotes in the BBC article, the article is about hackers using people's dormant machines to do their dirty work. See, now this is a good use of people who don't use the full power of their machines. Instead of letting computers log in and do SETI work or other advanced computations, it's letting your computer send SPAM while you're away.
Once hijacked, PCs can be used to send out spam, spread spyware or as repositories for illegal content such as pirated movies or pornography.

"How'd this porn get here!? Must've been those damn hackers." I now have an excuse if I ever get caught downloading the latest installment of Knocked up Knockers. It's an interesting article, but why did the BBC have to waste an awesome headline on this? I want real zombies to be dealt with. It's a growing problem that can still be found in the technology section. One should always read up on what to do when zombies do attack.

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Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Release Dates


From Anime Expo...
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core will be releasing on PS2 in September for $29.99. The next month will see a Wii release for $39.99.

As you can imagine, I was somewhat confused at the $10 increase. I asked if the Wii version has any special features besides shitty "waggle controls"*.

They said no.

To be fair, I casually mentioned how nice that Gamecube joysticks would be supported. The PR guy was actually not sure if Gamecube joysticks were supported, even though they're basically Gamecube controllers, and the Wii version supports Gamecube controllers. So they could just be total idiots. They also said "they're working on fixing the bugs from the Japanese version," until I caught them red-handed, telling them there was a Japanese bug-fix re-release they had nothing to do with.

*The flier for the game itself actually uses this phrase.

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Who Wants To Be A Superhero: The Comic


I'll admit it. I was a big fan of Who Wants to be a Superhero went it first aired last year. Sure it was corny, but there were some truly awesome moments: Iron Enforcer turning into Dark Enforcer, Major Victory becoming a hero in his daughter's eyes despite being eliminated, and the twists to each mission Stan Lee would introduce to the contestants.

One of the prizes for Feedback, the winning contestant, was the chance to get his character published in a comic written by Stan Lee. That comic hit the shelves last week. While I'm guessing it might have been one of the highlights of Feedback's life, I can't say that I enjoy the comic as much as him.

All the characters are such outrageous cliches, whether it's the mohawked punks that start trouble with Feedback ("Leave some fer me t'whap!") or the villain that double-crosses the hero (if having a robotic metal skull doesn't set off any flags, I don't know what will). Take Sarah, the love interest, as an example. She's a nurse but the uniform she wears is the same type of white, one-piece skirt with a red cross hat you find in old cartoons. Anyone that's ever been inside a hospital knows that nurses don't dress like that anymore. Later, when Feedback needs help sewing a costume, Sarah saves the day by doing it for him. To my surprise she makes a sleek, professional looking suit and all Feedback has to do to pay her back is fix her computer. Sarah's tailoring ability coupled with her technological incompetence can easily be construed as sexist.

This comic just seems so outdated. It pretty much crams every single writing trick Stan Lee's accumulated in his career into a single issue (the flashback that shows how Feedback got his powers, the character talking to himself, the reveal of the villain, the introduction of the love interest, etc). That either means Stan Lee is writing for the same audience he used to back in the Sixties or he's taking a self aware approach to the superhero genre. In either case, this comic serves as nothing more than fan service for Feedback.

I suggest reading Radioactive Man #711, which coincidentally is another comic that came out last week that's part of a multimedia tie-in (found in 7-Elevens to promote the Simpsons movie). This comic also contains the same types of cliches you find in the superhero genre but uses them instead for parody. This doesn't change the fact that I'm still going to watch season 2 of Who Wants to be a Superhero. However, it does make me wonder what would've happened if Fat Momma won the contest. Stan Lee would've had the opportunity to write about a protagonist that could address issues of sex, race, parenthood, and body image. But then that wouldn't be as enjoyable for his audience.

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

My Time At Anime Expo, Day 1.




I woke up on Saturday at 7:00 AM to get ready, dressed, and out the door to get to the Long Beach Convention Center by 8:00. The registration line had already started, and seemed very long, but I would find that by 9:00, I would have my registration in hand.




In line, I saw both good cosplay:



And bad cosplay:



I would be remiss if I didn't mention that AX is the largest anime convention in the world, with a reported 44,000 attendees. There are some really amazing, beautfiul cosplay done here. If you're interested, you can google image search for all the shots that I didn't get.

Finding my around was quite annoying and difficult, for the fact that the expo was not confined to just the convention center. The event took place across a total of six venues. There was a video room in one hotel, two video rooms, an arcade, and Karaoke in another hotel, an arena for the big concerts, a theater for the major screenings, and the convention center itself with another video room, the panel rooms, console gaming, artists alley, and the dealer's room. Registration took place in another venue entirely. Having all of this stuff spread out across two city blocks was quite inconvenient. After glancing through the dealer's room, noticing that console gaming was packed to the brim, and cavorting in the arcade (too fat for DDR anymore, it's all Tekken and Melty Blood for me), I ventured into the dealer's room.



I usually patronize FanimeCon, which happens in the Bay Area over Memorial Day weekend. The Dealer's room fits nicely in one of their exhibit halls. But this dealer's room was ten times the size. With elaborate booths, such as Geneon's Hellsing-themed display, and Bandai's makeshift theater. Best Buy even had a booth for some reason. And there were tons of independent booths, one selling anime cels for $300-$1,000. Rooster Teeth was apparently there, but I did not see them.

Eventually, I decided to get in line for the SOS Brigade concert. The original voice actors were going to be doing some songs from the show, and it sounded like fun. I got in line around 3:00, with the performance scheduled to start at 4:30.

Of course, this is an anime convention, right? I don't believe we got let in until around 5:30 or so, and the performance didn't start until about 6. For a half hour, we were watching promo videos. The best part of the videos was when they would stop, and someone in the tech booth would have to navigate the menu on the DVD. Good lord.

Finally, the performance started. The voice actress for Mikuru, Yuko Goto, did the song from Episode 0, Miracle Mikuru-run, or whatever the name actually is. The song's gimmick is she's supposed to be tone-deaf, so it worked out. But something seemed a bit... off. After the song finished, they introduced the translator for the Japanese VA's... and the Haruhi from the ASOS Brigade. Her name is Patricia, for the record.

I think the ASOS Brigade is one of the dumbest gimmicks of all time, for the record, and the woman playing Haruhi is fingernails drawing across my soul. At around this time, it was revealed they had about one live mic.

They show a demonstration of doing recording (ADR) for Haruhi. And the troubles begin here:
You can plainly see someone running Windows Media Player. Aya Hirano, the voice of Haruhi was next, and she did the opening theme from the anime series. It appeared that the music cues were off, because she was about a quarter of a bar behind the rest of the song.

Other things that were going wrong were people missing their cues to come onstage, the ASOS Brigade sucking the air out of the rest of the performance... if it were not for one factor, I would have called the concert crap. Even the song God Knows kinda sucks when you can't hear the lead guitar.

Johnny Yong Bosch is a king among nerds. You may remember him as the second Black Ranger from the old Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but these days, he does anime (Ichigo in Bleach, Renton in Eureka Seven, Itsuki in Haruhi). When he went to do his ADR line, he flubbed it a bit, and in a totally awesome and superb fashion, grabbed the script out of Patricia's hands, and flings it aloft, scattering the pages. Much to his dismay, the script was not just his lines for the faux recording session... but for the entire concert. So the whole thing grinds to a hilarious halt for a few minutes.

Concert ends with a massive Hare Hare Yukai dance, and the entire Japanese and American ADR cast come out to do it, and some contest winners come out as well. Johnny Yong Bosch doesn't know the dance, and basically does the monkey.

Crowd cheers for an encore, so the Hare Hare Yukai dance is done again. End concert.

Sadly, I missed a Para Para instructional workshop for this because it started late. I left the con shortly after the concert.

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Friday, July 6, 2007

The Rubinoos Don't Want Avril Lavigne To Be Their Girlfriend

Now normally, I would never make you listen to an Avril Lavigne song. But, could I entice you to listen to a few seconds of one if it meant Avril Lavigne was getting sued? I thought that might pique your interest.

A 70’s band The Rubinoos is suing Avril Lavigne for ripping off their song “I Want To Be Your Boyfriend,” claiming it was the inspiration for her song “Girlfriend.” One of the band members was quoted as saying: “We are not so naive as to chalk it up to some sort of cosmic coincidence. The lyric, the meter, the rhythm — they're identical."



The people on YouTube have actually done something useful, and taken a moment off of talking about themselves on their little cameras to make the following clip. It compares the two songs, and while The Rubinoos’ song doesn’t sound like much in the verse, when it hits the chorus, if you have even heard the Avril Lavigne song “Girlfriend” ONCE, you will recognize it.

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It Begins



In the the true spirit of a J.J. Abrams project, viral media has begun to pop up. There's the 1-18-08 website, the truth of Ethan Haas blog, and the Ethan Haas Was Right flash site. The flash site has a metallic ball that serves as a type of decoding game. Although I doubt that I'll figure much out from any of these sites, they're still pretty interesting to keep track of alongside the people who are able to work out their functions.

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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rock Band Demonstration Released - Adults Challenged To Question Their Maturity Once Again



Have you always wanted to be in a rock and roll band but lacked the discipline and patience to learn a real musical instrument? Then you've probably spent several hundred hours playing Guitar Hero by now. But consider Guitar Hero merely the gateway game leading you down a much darker path. Harmonix will soon be pushing their new highly addictive product on the unsuspecting pretty soon, and they've just released their first sampler to get us drooling. A video featuring the highly anticipated rhythm game, Rock Band, has finally been released, which adds to the Guitar Hero formula by including a bass guitar, drums, and a microphone.

I have to say, I was not impressed with this video. For all intents and purposes, the game looks really fun. My Guitar Hero controller has a permanent place next to my Playstation, and I find myself playing it long after I thought I'd grow tired of it, despite the constant criticism by those who've never played it themselves. "Why don't you just play a real guitar?" Because it's a bit more complicated than pressing 5 brightly colored buttons, and sometimes I just feel like playing a fucking game, that's why. That said, it will be nice to play some new songs, and some new instruments. Being a DrumMania fan, I'm especially eager to try the drum kit.

Why am I not thrilled about this game then? Take a look at the folks playing it. Just LOOK at these four adults, clutching miniature plastic versions of musical instruments, trying not to look like massive tools, but failing miserably. Yes, I know I'm a hypocrite. Yes, I know I play Guitar Hero. But I play Guitar Hero by myself, in the privacy of my home, far away from other people's judging eyes. I know I look like an idiot when I play with my plastic guitar, but I forget that when I'm in the middle of a furious Freebird solo. You know what else is a lot of fun? Masturbating. But you don't do that in front of other people, either. You know what it's called when four people come together and masturbate? It's called a circle jerk - and that's what this game looks like. A massive circle jerk.

Also, it's bad enough getting stuck being the bassist in a real band. How lame are you going to feel playing bass in a make-believe band with Johnny Four-Eyes screaming a karaoke version of Welcome to the Jungle in your ear?

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Did Somebody Order A Sausage Pizza?



In addition to playing hockey and exporting entertainers, those Canadians happen to also be good at marketing gimmicks. Winnipeg's Corey Wildeman came up with the idea of combining pizza delivery with complimentary pornographic imagery. And according to Wildeman, most of his customers are women.

"So I'm pretty pleased to see that a demographic that some people might think that we're offending is actually a lot more open to the concept than society would think," he said.

This can prove to be quite interesting if applied in a similar fashion to those migrant workers handing out pornographic flyers to passersby in Las Vegas. I can honestly say that I'd be more inclined to call one of those escort services if they came with a free pizza.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cloverfield


That's the name of the mysterious trailer for a J.J. Abrams-produced project attached in front of Transformers.

I won't go into further detail because it's something to be seen and experienced in person. If you need any more reason to go see that movie in theaters, then this is it. Once you have,check here for some possible details.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

Why Does The Milk Taste Sour?



The sour milk/sour skittles spot is the latest I've seen depicting this absurd little fantasy land. In the skittles world, you fix a skittles leak in the ceiling by hanging a little man underneath to eat the falling candy, rabbits can sing, creepy English lads dance for berries and cream, and long beards act as appendages. All I know is I want in. I figure the only way to do that is to grab a bag of skittles and lace it with some LSD. I'll catch you guys after I come down.

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WWE Raw Recap, 7-2-07





WWE Monday Night Raw live from Dallas, Texas.




We open with a recap of the WWE Championship Challenge. Cena pinned Foley to retain.
Pyro. Mr. Kennedy comes out, and is introduced by Lilian. Hey, she's back. He claims he should be the WWE champion, and he blames the fans for his inability to cash in money in the bank. Fans are apathetic, and can barely muster the obligatory “What?” Tries to announce his name, but he his interrupted by Cena, who's... getting mostly cheers? No, once his music ends, there they are. Cena says Kennedy is “the new guy”, so he introduces himself, and says, and pretends not to know his name. “You do the thing with the microphone... Mister Cameltoe”. Cameltoe chant. Now... a Cena chant? Yes, they are chanting Cena's name. He proceeds to call him Mr Crappypants, Mr Kellogg's Crunchy Nuts, Mr Colosthemy Bag, and Mr Kenny G, before mocking his catchphrase. It sounded like this:




“Mister... Kaaaabaabaabalabla.” Pause. “Baaalalabaablab.”




King Booker comes out, and demands a title shot. And tonight. I know that looks sudden, but that's basically how it was.




Orton out next. Also wants a shot, claims to have ended HBK and RVD's careers.
Lashley out next. He and Orton look like they are wearing underwear with their T-Shirts. Well, we know what Lashley sounds like, and we've seen the fannypack pictures of Orton. Also wants a shot.




Now William Regal comes out. Well, finally, he gets a title shot? No, Coachman is on holiday, so Regal is substitute GM. It's Beat the Clock tonight. And Regal calls Orton “Sunshine”, because his match is next.




Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy – Orton with a shoulderblock early on, and a quick pin. Jeff kicks out, and gets a pinfall attempt. Orton whips Jeff to the ropes, who hangs on, then backdrops Orton over when he charges. Jeff with a baseball slide, then a plancha. Rolls Orton back into the ring for another near fall. Jeff whips Orton to the corner, who comes back out with a clothesline. 2 pin attempts are kicked out of, and then Orton spends a minute stomping away, slowly. Doesn't make sense, I thought this was a Beat the Clock match? Orton drops the leg and goes for a pin. Kickout... then Orton locks on some kind of scissor/armbar combination. Well, at least it's not a chinlock. Jeff moves, and Orton switches to some kind of waistlock... which somehow is a submission hold. He lets go, and hits a scoop slam. Pin attempt. Another scoop and another pin. And then he does it a third time. After that, it's back to the scissor/armbar. So let's see... Orton did a shoulderblock, a clothesline, some stomps, that guillotine armbar, and scoop slams, and it's already been 5 minutes. Jeff fights back, eventually hitting a neckbreaker out of nowhere. After 2 pinfall attempts, Jeff dropkicks Orton in the corner, pin attempt. Orton rolls out to the apron, and snaps Jeff's neck on the ropes. Another pin attempt. An Irish whip is countered with Whisper in the Wind. Pinfall attempt fails, and Orton hits an RKO to counter a Twist of Fate to rack up a time of 7:06. I think Orton did six different offensive moves that entire match.




Melina vs Maria – First, a recap of Candace's win. She comes out to do commentary. So I guess there's gonna be a brawl afterwards. Melina poses like a Power Ranger at the top of the ramp during her entrance. The match is mostly catfight fodder, though Melina busts out a Giant Swing and a Surfboard Hairpull. She hits her finisher for the win... and there's a brawl afterwards.




Recap of HHH's quad tear. I guess there'll be 8 weeks of recover vignettes. Has U2 done anything new the WWE can use? HHH makes squishy faces as the doctor tends to his leg.
Dusty Rhodes introduces his son Cody to Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who welcomes the generic-looking kid to the “big leagues”. As far as I can tell, he looks nothing like his dad. Orton appears, wants to introduce himself to Cody. After some scary face making, he slaps the Dream, and Cody wants a piece.




Recap of Santino Marella's Intercontinental Title win in Milan, and his Vengeance “win”. He finds Maria in the back to check on her, but she's more worried about his challenge to Umaga. He “make-a” the challenge to Umaga to prove himself. He kisses Maria, and then heads out.




Santino Marella(C) vs Umaga – Umaga introduced first. Santino Marella's music would be better if it didn't try to go to crappy guitar and hi hat land after the intro. Give him Salvatore Sincere's music. He tries to shoot on Umaga and gets thrown off. Leg kicks from Marella, gets caught, escapes, and takes Umaga outside. Umaga grabs the champ through the ropes, and proceeds to use the ring to brutalize him. Back in the ring, and we begin generic face comeback sequence #1. Nerve holds and chops send him reeling, but he dodges a charge, and now more leg kicks. Tries a pinfall, but Umaga kicks out so hard Santino goes outside again. Samoan Drop from Umaga. Drags the lifeless Santino to the corner, and sets up for the butt ram. He connects, and the crowd, who was actually rooting for him, deflates at this. I didn't know they cared. Samoan Spike connects, and a three count crowns a new Intercontinental Champion. He celebrates by putting the belt in his mouth.




King Booker and Sharmell are walking. The time to beat, again, is 7:06.




King Booker w/ Queen Sharmell vs. Val Venis – Wow, Booker also poses like a Power Ranger. I want to shout “NOT VAL VENIS!” at my TV when he is announced. Val Venis's tron is still kinda going well after the bell starts. A couple pinfall attempts traded, and after some back and forth, Booker with a sidekick and a nearfall. Generic offense traded back and forth. Venis with a pinfall, but Booker kicks out, and takes Venis down with a clothesline. Another pinfall. At least they remember to do frequent pin attempts in these matches. Booker works over Venis, who escapes a submission hold using the ropes. Some more strikes, and then a perfectly acceptabe vertical suplex. Venis kicks out and starts fighting back, but gets hit with an elbow off of an Irish whip attempt. Booker has already used, I think, 8 different moves, three minutes in. Knees by Venis who takes control and hits a clothesline. A neckbreaker connects, and Booker kicks out at 2. Venis calls a spot, then whips Booker to the corner, who gets a knee up, and then kicks Venis in the gut in the center of the ring. Scissors Kick finishes it at 4:30, and thus, we have a new Beat the Clock leader. Booker does another pose as Sharmell announces the winner. I want to learn how to do that pose. Between him, Melina, and MVP, I think we have a new stable.




Kennedy in the back with Super Crazy. They face each other tonight, and Kennedy is interested in Super Crazy throwing the match and laying down. He'll slide a few pesos his way if he helps him out. Do they have a deal? “Si, Misterrrrr Kennedy.” But you know what? I don't think they do.




Mr. Kennedy vs. Super Crazy – Well, it's the in ring return for Kennedy. Super Crazy looks ready to fight as Kennedy gets the mic. The countdown continues as he starts to introduce himself, but Super Crazy gets a rollup... for three? That's the entire segment, folks.
Booker backstage with Shelton Benjamin, who will be facing Lashley tonight. If Shleton can last the clock, then he gets the first shot at Booker's title when he wins. They have a deal... and Booker wants Shelton to kiss his royal hand. Shelton does it because he's a trooper.




Dusty Rhodes backstage with Grisham. NEXT week, Orton and Dusty will be in the ring.




Jillian Hall listens to Carlito ramble on about something or other. Sandman shows up and opens a beer all over Carlito. Carlito spits an apple all over Sandman. Sandman spits a beer in Carlito's face. And Ron Simmons says Damn. That segment could have used other spitting, like HHH spitting water, or maybe someone spitting green mist, or Hacksaw Jim Duggan spitting up on himself.




Carlito vs. The Sandman – “The Sandman's idea of a balanced diet is a beer in each hand.” - Lawler. Carlito takes the early advantage with generic heel tactics. Carlito tries to use the kendo stick, but the ref blocks it. Sandman snatches the kendo stick and cracks Carlito over the head with it for the DQ. Dammit, very hard to care about this stuff.




Bobby Lashley vs. Shelton Benjamin – Woah, Shelton's old singles music. They do amateur stuff to start, which is always fine by me. Shelton to the outside, and stalls for time. Tries to brawl, but Lashley outbrawls him and slams him. Benjamin outside again, with 3:15 to go. He kills time until 2:30 left, when he starts trying to brawl. Lashley counts, and goes for a back body drop, but Shelton COUNTERS INTO A DDT that just looks awesome. 1:55 to go, and Shelton kicks away. Lashley powers up and gets a fallaway slam. Lashley unloads, and gets a spear in the corner that he combos into a powerslam. He whiffs a slam, and Shelton tries his spinning enzuigiri kick thing, but Lashlet reverses into a Dominator attempt that is escaped at :57, and Shelton kicks him in the head. Benjamin springboards off the top rope, but Lashley spears him in midair and gets the pin with :27 to go, winning Beat the Clock and the shot at Cena at the Bash. The contract signing is next.




Wait, no, another HHH promo is next.




Now Regal comes out with the contract in hand. He introduces Bobby Lashley first, and then John Cena. Cena compliments Lashley, saying he's looking forward to the match, and Lashley shares his sentiments. Kennedy and Booker come out, claiming this is all a farce. Cena goads them on, and they brawl, 2 on 2. You know they couldn't do Cena 1 on 1 with Lashley this early. The heels clear out, Cena signs, and then Lashley spears the holy hell out of him... and gets heel heat? Seriously? Show ends.



My thoughts: Best spot of the show was Shelton's DDT, and the best moment was Umaga eating the IC belt. Beyond that, totally forgettable show, even with a title change.


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Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart? We Do


Fox has launched a brilliant marketing campaign with 7-11, converting their convenience stores into the famed Kwik-E-Mart previously exclusive to Springfield. The transformation appears exhaustive, down to the yellow brick and brown shingles of the exterior, to the no-longer-fictional Krusty O's cereal, Buzz cola, and Squishee drinks. Springfield's residents occupy the store as well, from Comic Book Guy, to Frostillicus still frozen in his time-travel freezer. They even have an Indian guy working the register who I assume they've hired to play Apu. Hats off to Fox and 7-11 for putting this fanboy creamdream together!

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Bounty of the Internet

One of the things I love about the internet is its astounding ability to bring the dregs of society right to your society, neatly packaged into little websites. There are standards for what goes on TV, and what gets put in newspapers, but literally anything can be put on the web if you’ve got a computer and an internet connection. You know all those bizarre, dirty little things you think about when you touch yourself at night? Yeah, there’s a site for that. Guaranteed.

I often find myself browsing some of these horrifyingly ridiculous pages, unable to avert my eyes. It’s the proverbial car crash of the internet. How can you not look? The only thing more incredible than the fact that someone took the time to make pages like these is the fact that people actually believe the ideologies and beliefs spouted on these pages.

Take Hetracil.com, for example. The explanation on the opening page reads as follows:

"Hetracil is the most widely prescribed anti-effeminate medication in the United States, helping 16 million Americans who suffer from Behavioral Effeminism and Male Homosexuality Disorder."

Ah. Thank you, internet. Thank you.

Up next week: The Official websites of the KKK, The Flat-Earth Society, and some Japanese Farting Porn. I know – I can’t wait, either.

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Associated Press Reveals Details Of Upcoming Comic



Newsarama
has posted a spoiler warning for readers to be aware that an Associated Press article reveals certain details from Marvel Comics's Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America - Iron Man (whew) coming out next week. According to the AP article, there will in fact be a scene involving a eulogy being delivered to an assembly of superheroes at Captain America's burial.

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Costner Costner Costner



Variety has a story about Kevin Costner's plans to produce, finance and lend his voice to "The Explorers Club," an animated series that will originate on the Internet during the holiday season in 12 four-minute segments. Variety says:


Costner's endgame is the live-action feature. The creators will have a feature script ready by the time the segments air on the Web. Costner plans to reprise his role as an explorer named Sloane, and he'll have first crack at directing the film.

This is so typical of the current Hollywood film industry. The only way for someone as talented as Kevin Costner to get any decent work is to self-finance films where he stars as the main character. In order to keep the vision of the film intact, Costner has to direct the damn thing himself. I can't wait until Costner finally has the time to do that one movie he's been dreaming of all these years. The storyline will be centered around an alternate universe Kevin Costner in a post-apocalyptic Earth inhabited entirely by women. It would be up to him to help repopulate the planet and thereby save humanity. They movie will require Costner to perform full frontal sex scenes with various starlets. Only those with a high understanding of art, like myself, will understand the film to be an autobiographical metaphor of Costner's career.

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Nicole Kidman Is Accessible



Nintendo Europe has hired Nicole Kidman to be the face of their Brain Training ad campaign. Dawn Paine, Marketing Director of Nintendo UK, comments:

The Brain Training phenomenon is sweeping the globe, enjoyed by over 10 million people from grandparents to Oscar-winning actors. We believe that Nicole Kidman’s leading role in the campaign and the revelation of her DS Brain Age will surprise and excite people all over Europe.

This campaign follows a recent Chanel ad where she hooks up with a random guy she meets in a cab. Kidman is either trying real hard to prove that she's accessible to the common man or she's the world's biggest cocktease. Based on my prior dreams of her, I'd say she's a little from column A and a little from column B.

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