firebreather1I know most of you probably don’t go in for comics or graphic novels, but I’ve been revisiting one I really like. FireBreather, by Hester, Kuhn and Crabtree.

In this post-Rowling age — where every publisher wants you to rip-off Harry Potter — Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn take the young Potter formula and kick it off a cliff, turning the entire concept on its tail.

Like a lot of these stories the origin is a little thin, but Duncan is half-human and half-dragon. And he looks it. Comments made behind his back (though he hears them) include “monster” and “orange iguana.” Of course the bullies underestimate his strength.

Duncan doesn’t find relief at school, just the usual parade of bullies, and stoners and maybe a friend or two. His differences alienate him from pretty much everyone.

Duncan isn’t heir to a magical heritage filled with lollipops and cotton candy dreams. He doesn’t get a magic wand and a sweet pet owl. He gets anthracite and iron ore. And that’s his lunch. On top of that his dad is a monster (literally) who makes his entire life miserable. [Both quotes are from the Forward by Brad Meltzer.]

A more realistic portrayal of High School you won’t find anywhere, and finding it in a graphic novel is a special treat.

If you search for FireBreather on the web, you will find copious references to the fairly bad animated movie by The Cartoon Network. It is a poor adaptation of the graphic novel, it is badly animated, and it is poorly directed. It still manages to have a couple of really fun scenes, though overall I can’t recommend it.


Ghost in the Shell

The first teasers are available for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live action movie.

This one recreates a part of the opening of the Original 1995 Anime.

If you want an introduction, the easiest place to start is probably Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. (The animated series. It was produced as a prequel to the movies.)

Lithium Flower

So I’ve been indulging in a little anime, and of course that usually leads to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

And that gives us this week’s Musical Interlude – “Lithium Flower” written by Tim Jensen and performed by Scott Matthew. This is the song which played as the credits roll at the end of season 1 episodes. (Well almost at the end of the episodes.)

Anyway there seems to be some issues with YouTube and licensing, so this link will bring up SoundCloud.

Cowboy Bebop

So I have been indulging in a little anime. A guilty pleasure, but if it is on in the background while I’m doing other stuff, I don’t feel too bad about it.

Here is the opening scene to Cowboy Bebop, The Movie. (Not the best anime of all time, but not the worst either.)

The opening scene of the movie is one of the best parts of the movie, and at 4 minutes, it is worth your time. (The gun that Spike Spiegel is using is a Jericho 941 from Israeli Military Industries. It is once again in production.)

I always liked the theme. Judge for yourself by following that link.

Final Fantasy VII on Android

Final Fantasy has a special place in the hearts of many people. I had just moved across the country, and started a new job and didn’t have much time to devote to video games at that point in my life, but it was interesting. Final Fantasy VII is out for Android now (A lot of people say it was “great.” I think that may be a function of looking back on the “good old days.” It was good.)

There are few bugs, and 16 bucks for an app, so probably not something I will dive into. I still have a DVD copy of FFVII Advent Children around here somewhere… maybe I can dust that off.

So for no real reason I can think of (except that I really like it) here is the fight between Tifa and Loz from FFVII Advent Children.

Most Americans can’t stand Japanese story telling, and this is based on a video game, (witness the “flash step” that Loz deploys in the fight) so the movie tends to confuse a lot of people. But it is visually stunning. (The fight between all the heroes and Bahamut Sin is worth a look if nothing else.)


So a conversation with a friend reminded me of anime… a guilty pleasure, to be sure. Cowboy Bebop, the Movie was released in 2001, after a few seasons of a series.

Cowboy Bebop isn’t the best, but it is likely the most accessible to western audiences. The English dubs are often a bit rough. (Japanese and Chinese cinema – even anime – is best viewed in the original language with subtitles.) Though I don’t hate this dub of Bebop.

The guilty pleasure of anime is the weapons. The guns in Cowboy Bebop were (almost) always real. See the Internet Movie Firearms Database. The gun Spike is twirling at the end of this scene is an Israeli Military Industries Jericho 941. The gun Jet drops at the end is a Walther P99.

And in case you want more of the theme song.

Cowboys are futuristic bounty hunters. Bebop is the name of their space ship. Jet Black is an ex-cop. Spike Spiegel is a reformed crook. You’ll have to watch the whole thing to learn the rest of the characters.

Finally a Live-action Version of ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Given that Marvel is not green-lighting a Black Widow movie, this isn’t bad. Even if not everyone is happy with the casting. ‘Ghost in the Shell’: Scarlett Johansson casting called ‘whitewashing’ | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture – Los Angeles Times.

Ghost in the Shell is a piece of classic (at this point) anime. It was released in 1995, and aside for the dates (it was set in the 2030s?) it is very watchable.

It spawned one sequel, and an animated series that lasted at least 2 seasons.

I won’t try to explain GitS, that is done better elsewhere.

Unfortunately it is being produced by Avi Arad. He has had much to do with the string of Marvel movies, so I predict that the new Ghost in the Shell, will have little to do with the original material, be completely predictable, and not come close to the original movie.

I hope I’m wrong, because this could be a really good movie. It will probably be very forgettable.

One of the attractions of Anime, has been its attention to detail regarding the weapons. The movies are filled with fairly realistic weapons, even if they are “future versions” of stuff we know and love today. Ghost in the Shell – Internet Movie Firearms Database – Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games. The movie includes things like Steyr TMPs, Jericho 941s, CZ 100s, etc. GLOCK showed up in the animated series.