Monday, 17 October 2016

Monster Princess

There's been a few times this blog's progenitor, Lunatic Obscurity, when I've been the first person to ever write english-language reviews of some games. For the first time, Lunar Garbage Hell can make such a claim, though I am cheating slightly. You see, I chanced across this one-shot story in an issue of Animedia Pocke Comic I picked up a few years ago. I then scanned it and commissioned Tumblr user and friend trubografx16 to translate it.

But that's just the surface of how obscure this comic is! Though the creator, Takashi Akaishizawa is well known for anime character designs as well as cover and promotional artwork for videogames, as a comicker, as far as I can tell this is his only comic. I say "as far as I can tell", as not only does this comic have no entry on the manga database baka-updates, but the man himself doesn't, either!

Anyway, enough of this self-back-patting, let's get onto the comic itself. It stars Nana, a somewhat naive young woman who lives on a planet of Kaiju with her parents, where she seems to act as a kind of scantily-clad park ranger, breaking up fights between the monsters, and protecting them from space poachers. A pair of two such poachers are the antagonists in this story, though they aren't looking to kill the monsters, but capture them in capsules with a shrink ray and sell them, presumably as weapons. They talk at one point about how Nana's beaten them up and seen them off before, which makes me think this comic was a pilot episode, and they were intended to be reoccuring villains.

When Nana finds them, they fob her off with a story that they're not on the planet for poaching, but just to harmlessly get footage of the monsters. Unfortunately for them, this only serves to get Nana's attention more, as she wants to be caught on film, so she follows them around until they try to "film" the monster Miguras, suddenly juming in front of the camera and getting shrunk down and capsulised herself. Then, the space police turn up because the shrink ray the poachers are using is stolen. The poachers panic, using the gun's release mechanism to release all the monsters at once, and with them, a (temporarily) giant-sized, naked Nana. The resulting confusion allows the poachers to make a quick getaway, and everything's back to normal at the end.

It's an okay story, and the art is obviously excellent, as you'd expect from an artist as talented as Akaishizawa. If it was intended as a pilot, I wonder how far it could have gone with the "poacher's zany plan of the week" format. Maybe it would have moved on to cover Nana's parent's work as scientists on the monster planet, or maybe show planets where stolen monsters had been successfully deployed as weapons of mass destruction? I guess we'll never know. Anyway, Monster Princess is no lost classic, but reading it's a pretty fun way to spend five minutes or so.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Super Nerds

Super Nerds is a failed sitcom pilot from 2000, starring Patton Oswalt as a guy named Leslie who works in a comic shop. There's also a guy named Gayle who doesn't work there, but is there all day anyway, and the shop's owner: an insane immigrant from some vaguely soviet country who's obsessed with money and business. The other main character is Gwen (played by Sarah Silverman), Leslie's childhood friend who just moved back to town and inexplicably has a crush on him.

I'm not really familiar with Patton Oswalt's work, but he seems to be pretty popular with a certain kind of Funko Pop-collecting "nerd culture" types, and watching this, I can see why. It's like if The Big Bang Theory was made a decade earlier. Easy references to things everyone knows like Star Trek, Star Wars and Spider-man's origin being treated as jokes on their own, along with tired old cliches about overweight nerds at conventions in ill-fitting costumes and male nerds being unable to talk in the presence of a woman. There's even a part where a character gets angry to the point of yelling when someone suggests characters from the Marvel and DC universes meeting up.

Being a pilot, I can forgive some of the problems the show has, like the audience sounding as if its made up of about ten people, and the plot obviously being little more than a set up for future shenanigans, but the biggest crimes that Super Nerds commits are unforgivable for a sitcom: it's never funny and all the characters are boring. Another way in which it's similar to The Big Bang Theory! There's been plenty of failed pilots that I've watched and wished the show got made, but Super Nerds definitely isn't one of them.