Artificial Continuum

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Marvel thought they'd give us a tease for this years spider-man comics. Well so far we'd seen this.

Now to start off. I'm excited alone by the fact that Curt Connors will be back. It's been far to long my scaley friend. We also see the new Kraven choking Spider-man, and Peter making out with forensics scientist Carlie Cooper. But who is Peter reaching for?

Holy Shit its MJ!!!!! Has Marvel realized their mistake!?! Or are they torturing us with false promises? Either way, they have sufficiently hyped me up.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Happy Holidays, ladies and gentlemen of the internet!

So several weeks ago, there was this awesome miniseries on SyFy called Alice. And being the huge fan of Alice in Wonderland that I am, naturally I had to check it out.

Oh. My. God.

I was blown away by this miniseries. And that's saying something, since the miniseries in question is coming from SyFy, whose material is often best-described to put this gently....subpar. I also sampled another "re-vamping" from SyFy's vaults, Tin Man. All I can say for that miniseries is this... would someone please send Dorothy back to Kansas already?

Alice, well, this one was different. It was witty, interesting, suspenseful, exciting, and boy oh boy, was it visually dynamic.

Alice tells the story of a girl named (take a wild guess) Alice. So her boyfriend, Jack (a pretty-boy with no personality) comes over for dinner, and then he gets kidnapped after trying to give Alice a ring. Alice sees him getting kidnapped and follows after this freaky guy with pigtails and a white suit and falls into a mirror in a building under construction (...why is a mirror in a building under construction in the first place?). So she falls and falls and falls and then SPLASH! it's into a huge lake for her. So she swims to shore, meets a creepy little guy who catches rats, and he takes her to meet a guy named Hatter (OMG OMG OMG!!!! HE IS SO KICKASSLY HOTT!). He says that he can help her find her boyfriend, and the adventure begins!

I won't give away any more because you have to watch it for yourselves.

Rating: A

I enjoyed this miniseries immensely. In fact, I think I had a bit too much fun pointing out all of the little references to the original books. And there were plenty of little references to the original books and universe. For instance, Alice's mother's name is Carol...and Caroll (spelled differently, but what's an extra 'l'?) is the last name of the author (Lewis Caroll, for those who didn't know).

The only real critique I have to make is that there were some points that would not have been understood had you not read the books.

Anyway, so that's about it. WATCH IT! It will blow your mind.

Until next time, my friends!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Oh my God is this awesome. I find myself loving this game more and more every day. The new trailer blows away the shortened version, which makes you wonder why the shorter version was ever released. Although The Old Republic still wins for best video game trailer of the year.

Monday, December 21, 2009
Ok. I've been lazy and haven't been able to offer my opinions on the latest movie trailers to make their web debut this week.

Iron Man 2:

Looks as fun and entertaining as the first. Robert Downey Jr. once again looks at the top of his game, and Mickey Rourke is perfect as the villainous Whiplash, even if it's difficult to understand him. The action also looks ratched up from the first with robots and bullets flying in every direction. My only true complaint is that the robot suits look even less impressive then the first film. Given that two years have passed you'd expect the special effects to be up a notch or two. War Machine does kick ass though.

Score: -A

Robin Hood

Er...ok. This one I'm a little more skeptical about. Never once in this trailer did I feel Robin Hood. Although I love Ridley Scott as a director, this feels like yet another mideval war film. I don't see any real Robin Hood action or story going on at all besides some arrows and few traps. This once again tries to mix rock anthems with fantasy storytelling, which for the last time doesn't work!

Score: C

Clash of the Titans

Speaking of using rock music to make a fantasy film seem more "pumped", we have the new Clash of the Titans trailer. I actually like this better then the original trailer, the sepcial effects look better and the acting especially Laim Neeson as Zeus seems well done. But really, this film just seems odd. "Damn the Gods" is its tagline. Clash of the Titans isn't a manly action film, it was a special effects extravaganza about the battles of Gods. This new film seems to miss the point and love the original film had. Yet, the Kraken looks cool.

Score: C+

Alice in Wonderland

Oh my God is the imagery in this film beautiful. Easily my favorite interpretation of Wonderland, Tim Burton injects his own style into the already LSD laced headtrip. My only skepticism comes from the story, which seems to play out like a sequel to the original story rather then a strait adaptation. Although I appluad Tim Burton for trying to make the film as much his own as possible, having too much of a different story may actually loose audiences though. We'll find out next March.

Score: -A

Shrek Forever After

It's Shrek One More Day everyone! The only true laugh I got out of this trailer was the obvious comaprisons that can be made to the infamous Spider-man arc. Although the animation has improved, who honestly cares if they end the Shrek story? It's not some saga that we've been anxiously waiting on the edge of seats for years to see the conclusion to. I personally would've liked to see the story end at the second film.

Score: C
I'm excited to see this since this was the class I played in Mass Effect. It looks slightly less suckish this time around, and it looks like I'll die less often. Also, the sniper rifle looks better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009
Nick’s Top 5 Top 10
In 2008 AFI did a little countdown where they counted down the top 10 movies of specific genres. I’m bored and thought I’d do something similar, but this time crossing multiple Nerd genres. Should be interesting and fun. It’ll also give you little insight into what I like, and what I consider to be great examples of nerddom across the board.


10. Godzilla King of the Monsters (Dark Horse)

As most of my friends and family know, I am a huge fan of kaiju, or Japanese giant monsters. There is little one can’t love about giant super powered men in suits fighting it out in Asian metropolises, and wreaking havoc upon all they touch. Godzilla King of the monsters is perhaps the best example of kaiju to make itself into comic form. The series is also notable for its total reinvention of Godzilla’s origin, straying away from the anti-war message that is often a staple of the series. Instead, Godzilla is a titan reawakened by an ancient tablet to reignite his war on Earth. The series also does a superb job of balancing engaging and violent story telling with traditional corny Godzilla stories. There are numerous nods made to the overly cheesy endings and plot lines of the series, and they add a degree of humor to the series. One particular arc that I enjoy follows a series of interstellar poachers who come to bag the Big G as a trophy. What follows is similar to Ridley Scott’s Alien, but with a giant fire breathing behemoth and fifty foot tall aliens in the city of Seattle. If you can’t find fun in that you have problems.

9. Cable and Deadpool

This series is perhaps one of the most confusing and philosophical stories I’ve ever read about two mentally unstable mercenaries. Cable and Deadpool plays out like a buddy film between a wise cracking 4th wall breaking bounty hunter and a messianic cybernetic Jesus figure from the future. Confused already? Don’t worry it gets worse, or better, as it goes along. Cable and Deadpool was a series that never shied away from telling politically volatile stories with a heavy hand of pop cultural dark humor. It is the only series to this day that had literally had me laughing out loud for five minutes. There are so many things to love about the stories and characters you easily forget about the convoluted plot and sometimes subpar art.

8. Sensational Spider-Man

This short lived two year Spider-man spin off won me over for the simple reason that it told stories that other Spider-man books couldn’t and wouldn’t tell. Friendly Neighborhood was busy being a giant piece of shit and Amazing was filled with the major plot points and story arcs. Sensational was an amazing series because it told the eerie and more character driven stories that were often overlooked. Ranging from a spectacular arc about Spidey’s animal like villains going insane all at once and going on a primal rampage throughout New York to a one off about what happens to one of Peter Parker’s students after he discovers that his biology teacher is truly a super hero. Spectacular featured superb art and wonderful storytelling, and it was a shame to see it end.

7. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Star Wars comics are a mixed bag. Forced to live inside the confines of Lucas’s sprawling and complicated continuity they are given little story telling opportunities. Also many series feel the need to cram in a major action sequence into every issue (*cough*Dark Times and Legacy *cough*), which distracts from character and plot development. However, Rogue Squadron is the rare exception. Telling the story of Wedge’s infamous group of fighter pilots, Rogue Squadron plays out like a Band of Brothers style drama about heroics, loss, love, and political corruption. Featuring some of the best Star Wars characters in the entire Expanded Universe, Rogue Squadron is above all things a story about the characters. Not to say that there isn’t terrific action sequences. The series features some of the most intense battle scenes ever depicted in the saga, and they are a marvel to watch. It also has some of the biggest emotional impacts in a comic I’ve ever seen. When characters die, you actually feel a sense of loss. These are beings you’ve seen grow and mature for numerous issues, and to see them fall is heartbreaking.

6. Avengers: The Initiative

Marvel Civil War was perhaps the largest and deepest reaching story arc in the history of Earth 616. It forced Spider-man into hiding, made Iron Man head of S.H.I.E.L.D., and most of all spawned this series. Avengers: The Initiative describes the militarization of Marvel’s lesser known superheroes, and reads like a combination of Stripes, Harry Potter, and Black Hawk Down. The art is top notch, and the original characters are likeable and fun to watch. It is always a thrill to see a myriad of the lesser knowns of the Marvel universe interact with one another. The action is also gritty and violent for a super hero comic, and characters actually die, violently. It’s hard not to fall in love with this story, and almost makes you happy that Pro-Reg won the war. Almost

5. New Avengers

What do you get when you combine basically every popular Marvel character and perhaps the best writer in Marvel? You get the New Avengers, the political character driven story following the Avengers team that takes over after the violent tragedy of Avengers: Disassembled. Although the roster of the team is always in constant flux, there will always be a character on the team who you enjoy watching. The story is also one of the most significant and influential in the Marvel Universe and is a must read for any fan.

4. Invincible Iron Man

After Civil War, people hated Iron Man. Well, that’s a soft word. People DESPISED him. Tony Stark had single handedly screwed over the entire Marvel Universe in the course of one year. Even his blockbuster movie couldn’t sell fans on the idea of Tony Stark as a hero. Luckily, Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man wasn’t far around the corner. Taking its impetus from the movies, Invincible Iron Man takes some of the most talented writers and artists in Marvel and delivers a story that is approachable by any fan of the character, movie or comic. The story is also mature and violent, and is populated by well drawn out and realistic characters. And in an obvious nod to the films, Obadiah Stane and Pepper Potts make their return in the series.

3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

If you’ve read my posts, and listened to the podcast, you should know one thing. I am in love with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. Easily my favorite game of all time and my favorite era of Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic is a winning series for me from the start. Yet what really sold me on the series were the brilliant characters and remarkably original plot. Zayne Carrick is perhaps the most unique Star Wars hero ever written and also one of the most likeable. He never slips into clichés, his unshakeable sense of justice, and quirky humor make him a joy to watch from panel to panel. His pairing with Gryph, a Snivvian conartist, provides for some of the best in comics chemistry I’ve ever seen. KOTOR is one of the few Star Wars series that will make you laugh. With characters like the Moomo Brothers, two incompetent Ithorian bounty hunters, you’ll be in stitches. Not to say that the series doesn’t feature a story. KOTOR follows its video game counterpart in providing one of the most original and powerful Star Wars stories ever told, and yes it’s better than the prequel films.

2. Captain America: The Death of Captain America

Captain America really isn’t a character I like to follow. I find both his concept and design goofy, and his story arcs never capture me. However following the Civil War Marvel did something unthinkable, they killed him. Gunned down in a Post War riot, the patriotic superhero slips to the ground as security scrambles and the superhero community is rocked to its core. What follows is the Marvel equivalent to 24 as Winter Soldier/Bucky, Cap’s former side kick, The Falcon, and Sharon Carter, Cap’s lover, hunt down the shooter and fight off a terrorism wave. With dark and poignant art, The Death of Captain America reaches legendary levels of complexity and emotion, and at times you forget you’re reading a book about guy who runs around hitting people with a shield with the American flag on it. The Death of Captain America is a must read for ANY comic fan young and old, serious and casual.

1. The Amazing Spider-man

Perhaps the most influential super hero series of all time, the Amazing Spider-man redefined the way comics were told. Peter Parker was not invincible, and he wasn’t a billionaire, he was a teenager with real problems and issues. Spider-man was as relatable as he was humorous and powerful. It also features such comic landmarks as The Death of Gwen Stacy, one of the boldest moves every made in Marvel history. Spider-man is also filled to the brim in memorable characters powered and nonpowered. Although in its recent years has been plagued by poor editorial decisions, Marvel’s flagship series still sparkles with a decidedly human shine.

See what happens when I'm finally made an Admin? Well as you can see I have given the blog a much needed facelift, but don't get too comfortable cause this is a lot of artistic licence and could be changed. Hey staff of A-C this is my combined Christmas gift and it cost me a good amount so Happy Holidays!!!!!

From: Your Dear Friend,

Friday, December 18, 2009
Many people have ranted the past week about the "revolutionary" film Avatar. Having just finished the movie, I shall take a stab at a review.

Avatar follows the story of a cripple named Jake who goes to the planet Pandora to help mine a substance called unobtanium. Now, I'm not really sure why they want this unobtanium so much, because they only mention they can sell it for large amounts of money and never mention any of its actual purposes (I was taking an exciting trip to the Men's room during the begininning, though, so perhaps I missed it). So he somehow gets his mind put into an alien so he can go learn about their culture, which is to say a completely stereotypical Native American culture. He spends time there, then shit hits the fan, and... Yes, this movie is completely predictable. Let me sum it up for you. Imagine the Europeans first coming to America. Now imagine this in space. Now imagine that instead of all the natives being forced west, they assembled into a rag-tag team of underdogs that manage to win the camp games against those snooty bastards from the rich camp down the creek. I hate to say (Oh, who am I kidding, I love to say it) the story is completely hackneyed and left me bored to tears.

But what about story on the personal level? Well, the main character tries to make everyone love everyone else everywhere by means of intense action scenes and explosions. The main love interest hates the protagonist, then loves him, then hates him, then loves him some more again. And the bad guy makes stupid jokes constantly while killing baby puppies who are just looking for snuggles.

"What? You say that both the overall story and the personal story suck ass in Avatar?" you might be wondering to your silly little selves. Yes, in a nutshell, that is what I am saying. The only real redeeming factor to the movie is the special effects. They look magnificent. I cannot deny it. Though I can complain that they have nicely nestled into the uncanny valley and that whenever they are shown right next to a normal human actor, look quite unreal. I also heard quite a bit of praise about the creative creatures James Cameron has created in the film. I must disagree. Almost every single creature in that movie is simply a normal animal, minus fur, plus a few extra limbs, and then with some random tentacles and flappy-things pasted on for good measure.

The filming and directing is done very well. You won't ever be scratching your head wondering what happened, mainly because the story is so simplistic you'll never really need to think about it.

The music was certainly unremarkable, and I have already forgotten all of it less than two hours after the viewing.

Avatar is by no means bad. I wouldn't really call most of it good, and the only thing that is really great is the special effects. And that is my suggestion: go watch it because its pretty. There's not much there besides beautiful environments and blue alien boobies.

James Cameron has been hailed as the king of the world when it comes to filmmaking. With films like Terminator, Titanic, and Aliens under his built, he has become something of a legend. However, he took a twelve year break to create the gigantic science fiction epic known as Avatar.

Praised as a revolution to filmmaking Avatar, has been coined everything from the next Star Wars to a colossal flop? Where does the film fall, and are its special effects really so spectacular?

Avatar follows the story of a paraplegic marine, named Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who is sent to the planet Pandora after his scientist brother is murdered. Jake Sully is drafted into the Avatar program, a scientific initiative which has genetically created alien-human hybrid bodies through which the characters would live vicariously. Jake is met with a wide host of characters in the human encampment stationed in Pandora. On one side is the group of corporate heavy weights such as Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribsi) and the extremist military commander Colonel Quatritch (Stephen Lang), the other is the scientific program lead by the botanist Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and nerdy scientist Norm Spellman (Joel Moore). As Jake progresses through the new world he is met with new beauty in the biology of the world and the natives, particularly the princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). As Jake becomes more and more enchanted with the new world which has given him acceptance a conflict boils around him between the increasing greedy and powerful human encampment and the Na’vi natives.

Avatar is one of those films you want to see succeed, and when it slams a hit it hits out of the park, but then will strike out for two consecutive innings. The special effects truly are revolutionary and offer more beauty and spectacle in a film then ever seen before in the history of film. The sheer emotion shown by the Na’vi and Avatars character models are fantastic. Cameron has truly perfected the art of motion capture meshing human performance and special effects to a new high. If there is anything Cameron has truly exceeded at it is building a believable and breathtaking world. Everything about the world of Pandora looks and feels organic and true. Scenes where Jake flies through the world of Pandora on the back of a dragon like beast are surprisingly poignant and beautiful and are a true spectacle. Cameron excels at drawing you into a world filled with unsurpassed beauty and spectacle. Perhaps never since Oz has a film opened and audiences’ eyes and made their jaws drop in true visual astonishment. The creatures in the film are perhaps the most realistically designed aliens ever created, outside of the overly human Na’vi. They feel like animals that would actually evolve on a world like Pandora’s, and they are real treat to watch on screen, especially the flying Banshees.

Perhaps the area of the film that is called most into scrutiny is its similarity to Native American epics such as Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves. However, this story is a powerful and moving one and has never been told with such vigor and creativity as in Avatar. The one area where the film truly starts to falter is in character. Neytiri and Jake Sully are wonderfully indepth and drawn out characters with numerous moments that make them shine. The acting in this film is for the most part well done and fleshed out. The motion capture performances delivered by Worthington, Weaver, and Saldana are spectacular and perhaps more emotional and heart given the majority of the live action actors. Worthington is surprisingly flat as Jake outside his Avatar, and the contrast between the two is sometimes jarring. Stephen Lang is another actor who stands out in the film for negative reasons. His character of Col. Quatrich is perhaps one of the most interesting in the film, but he is hampered by the awful and cliché military dialogue written for him. The dialogue as a whole feels surprisingly flat and hollow compared to the indepth world in which it takes place. Surprisingly the only lines that truly feel deep are spoken by the Na’vi, who barely speaks English to begin with.

James Cameron’s direction is what saves this potentially fatal flaw to the film. Cameron directs each scene of the film with such vigor, excitement, and visual astonishment that the problems with the script literally melt away around you. Every time you begin to question a character or plot point Cameron fixes it with a new sequence of visual and emotional resonance that few other directors have yet to achieve. His direction saves the clichéd plot and makes it exciting, and it even saves some of the poorly written conversations of the film, but they still stand out like a sore thumb.

James Horner’s score is also a standout. Combining sweeping epic battle hymns, tribal chants, and one of the most memorable film themes I’ve seen in years, it works seamlessly with Cameron’s direction providing powerful and moving moments.
Avatar shines best when you are forced to take a step back and realize its epic scope and scale. The battle scene in the final act is impressive, ground breaking, thrilling, and occasionally emotional. Scenes involving the plight of the Na’vi tribes are also wrenching and breathtaking in scale.

Perhaps comparisons made to films such King Kong, Star Wars, and The Wizard of Oz are correct. Avatar is a film that thrives off of a visual uniqueness and power, epic scale, and smart direction and manages to sweep you along with it despite its flaws. When the original Star Wars premiered over thirty years ago it was a film very similar to Cameron’s labor of love. An expensive and ambitious movie, that relied on effects and scope to draw viewers into a deceptively thin storyline and characters. Although rarely done today, if one were to view Star Wars as a standalone film, people would realize its surprisingly simple plot and 2D characters. The same goes for King Kong. King Kong was a spectacle that unleashed a towering stop motion gorilla upon the streets of New York. Once again a familiar plot filled with simple character archetypes, yet these films became classics for their technological innovation and their ability to capture an audience, which Avatar succeeds in almost every form.

Although falling short of my highest mark, it is hard for me not to appreciate the work that James Cameron has done on what is sure to be on the most remembered films of our time.

Score: A
Sunday, December 13, 2009

Star Wars comics are a mixed bag, while some like Knights of the Old Republic and Rogue Squadron related interesting character driven stories, some like Dark Times and The Republic series are flimsy and shallow. However, one of the most interesting series released in Star Wars is the Infinites. This series of comics takes an alternate more violent approach to the original trilogy, and tells alternate stories. For example, in Infinites: A New Hope, Luke fails to destroy the Death Star and the story follows after that. Yesterday, Dark Hourse Comics announced that a second trilogy of Inifinite graphic novels are planned for the controversial prequel trilogy. I gurantee it that many fans by the end will most likely prefer these to the actual films.
Saturday, December 12, 2009

James Cameron's new science fiction epic premiered this week to critics throughout the world, and so far they are loving it. Gaining a 91% on the review site Rotten Tomatoes, Avatar seems to be gaining steam as one of the years best. Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 claiming that "[James Cameron] is one of the few people left in Holywood who can use $300 million dollars effectively." The film is is also being a true technical evolution on all accounts. The only true debate comes down to the films familiar story. Some love it, while others find it tired. Avatar is due for release December 18th.
Well 2009 is rounding out and with it come the slew of award shows. The first major offering for the year is the VGA's (Video Game Awards) hosted by Spike TV. The Winners are as follows.

Game of the Year: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Studio of the Year: Rocksteady Studios
Best Independent Game Fueld by Dew: Flower
Best Xbox 360 Game: Left 4 Dead 2
Best PS3 Game: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Best Wii Game: New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Best PC Game: Dragon Age: Origins
Best Handheld Game: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter IV
Best Action Adventure Game: Assassin's Creed II
Best RPG: Dragon Age: Origins
Best Multiplayer Game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Best Individual Sports Game: UFC 2009 Undisputed
Best Team Sports Game: NHL 10
Best Driving Game: Forza Motorsport 3
Best Music Game: The Beatles: Rock Band
Best Soundtrack: DJ Hero
Best Original Score: Halo 3: ODST
Best Graphics: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Best Game Based On A Movie/TV Show: South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!
Best Performance By A Human Female: Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Best Performance By A Human Male: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Best Cast: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Best Voice: Jack Black for the voice of Eddie Riggs in Brütal Legend
Best Downloadable Game: Shadow Complex
Best DLC: Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Most Anticipated Game of 2010: God of War III

Among the awards a slew of new information and announcements were made. Among them being that Batman: Arkahm Asylum and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be recieving sequels next year.

Although not as impressive as Bioware's cinematics for Dragon Age or SWTOR it is still one impressively animated trailer. Apparently we have more coming to. I look foward to it.

(top rightt: Akito, Bottom leftt: Moritaka, Middle: Azuki)


I am extremely overjoyed to review this next manga. After Death Note was finished I will admit I was sad. Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba do incredible work together and the end of such an eventful series was downtroddening (for all intensive puposes, that is a word). Finally I was dilligent enough to search around and I found that they have another manga series out in Japan.


Bakuman, as it's called, follows two high school students named Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi. Moritaka is a very skilled artist who sees very little desire to advance in life. To quote his views: "I don't want people to call me a freeloader when I grow up, so i'll probably get an office job even though I don't want to" (bakuman vol. 1 page.005). Akito is the exact opposite. Head of their class and a superb writer, Akito wishes to become a famous mangaka (Manga writer). After Moritaka leaves his notebook full of sketches of the girl he is head over heels in love with, Akito finds it and tries to convince him to draw for his manga. At first Moritaka is skeptical, mainly because his beloved uncle worked himself to death (literally) as a mangaka. But after Akito tells him that Azuki (the girl he loves) wants to be a voice actress, he becomes a little more willing. Things become even more heated when the same girl promises to marry him if they both make it big. Suddenly, Moritaka has something to work for and Akito couldn't be happier.


After reading the first volume, I was in a daze. All I could think was "another work of literary greatness by Obata and Ohba". In truth it is good. With the same art style as Death Note, it feels warm and familiar. Their are a few things that are new about it though. The focus on quite a bit of comedy and light-hearted moments are strange compared to the heavy and serious story of Death Note. Not to say that it doesn't work, it's just odd and I kinda like it. Ohba also found ways of incorperating Death Note into this as well, as it is frequently referred to. Overall, it's good.The only reservatuions I have are that some of the story aspects are far fetched .I'm still on a wait and see basis as far as recommendation. But if your up for it, get it.

Friday, December 11, 2009
Hello twenty something AC readers and listeners. Today I am making the official announcement that in early January Artificial Continuum will be opening its own youtube channel, and hosting the first annual AC Awards for all things nerdy. These awards given to the most amazing achievments in nerddom of the year will be presented in video form through youtube. However, this year we will also be featuring AC Decade Awards for the best nerd achievements of the decade. Nominees will be announced later this month.

The Catergories include:

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Voice Talent in an Animated Film
Best Animated Feature
Best Original Story
Best Adapted Story
Best Art Design
Best Cinematography
Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Effects/Mixing
Best Score
Best Action Sequence
Best Overall Scene or Sequence

Best Drama Series
Best Comedy Series
Best Animated Series
Best New Series

Video Games:
Best XBOX 360 Game of the Year
Best PS3 Game of the Year
Best Handheld Game of the Year
Best Wii Game of the Year
Best PC Game of the Year
Indy Game of the Year
Best DLC
Best Story
Best Graphics
Best Voice Talent/Acting
Character of the Year
Game of the Year

Best Ongoing Series
Best Event
Best Art
Best Webcomic

Best Anime of the Year
Best Manga of the Year

Overall Nerd Awards
Best Nerd Moment of the Year
Biggest WTF!?! of the Year

AC Decade Awards
Top 5 Movies of the Decade
Top 5 Games of the Decade
Top 5 Television Shows of the Decade
Top 3 Biggest Comics of the Decade
As Mass Effect 2's January release date draws closer, we are greated with even more information.

First we have the sentinel class. (Looks like people might actually play this class this time around.)

Next we have the specatcular voice acting trailer. This trailer shows the literal all star voice cast of the upcoming sci-fi sequel. Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), Seth Green (Autin Powers, Robot Chicken), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Keith David (Numerous voice credits including Arbiter from the Halo trilogy), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix), Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica), Adam Baldwin (Serenity, and Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Yes, that is basically a sci-fi fan's dream cast.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I remember a loooonnnnggg time ago (actually more like 2 years) I was browsing manga in a shop near my home when I came across the word BECK printed in the Tokyopop rack in front of my face. Of course being young(er) and ignorent, I scoffed at the name ad continued to browse. Well I'm writing this post to kick myself verbally for my late start reading this manga.


Young Yukio Tanaka has become dissatisfied with his current situation. He has good friends and an okay life but it all seems boring to the 14-year-old boy. Things take a turn for the better after Yukio saves a rather odd dog from being tormented by a group of children. The dog's owner turns out to be Ryusuke Minami, a womanizing upstart musician with fierce guitar skills who just left his previous band. Yukio soon becomes enamoured with the guitar and takes a new interest in his life. Not too far after, Yukio becomes part of Ryusuke's new band which they name after his dog Beck (they do know that the band name has been taken for quite some time). The series focuses on their attempts to rise from obscurity and the many challenges and allies they make along the way. In particular, Yukio's romantic link with Ryusuke's sister, Maho.


I will not sugar-coat it, this series is EPIC. With over 30 volumes, it will take forever to read and cost alot to own. But it is completely worth it. The art is some of the most unique and refreshing I have ever seen. In crowds, every person has a face and a distinct style. You could say that everything drawn has a personality, especially the main characters. Everyone has a very well thought out backstory and appearance to match. The story itself has some ups and downs, but overall it's solid. The only real downside is not being able to hear the music (but thats what the anime/ soon to be released live action movie are for). Another interesting thing about BECK is it's reference to rock music around the world. Legends like the Beatles, Kurt Kobain, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, and so on are being talked about constantly and songs, shirts, album covers of famous bands are shown in the various situations. Overall I find this series an interesting, believeable (to an extent) story of a band stepping up to be great.
Rock On!

(that's actually Neuro in the background. Creepy isn't he?)


Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro ,Otherwise known as Demon Detective Neuro Nagami, is another murder solving mystery anime/manga. But this is no average CSI type story, for hell breaks loose (literally) in this anime.


Yako Katsuragi is a 16 year-old high schooler who has been forever plagued by the mystery surrounding her father's death. Found in his locked office with the blood of his corpse used to paint the walls (and alot of other disturbing details), the police have no choice but to rule Yako's father's death a suicide. After years of no evidence Yako meets, how should I put this, a demon by the name of Neuro. Neuro is a "detective" who has solved all the mysteries of Hell and has come to Earth in search of more. Neuro makes a promise to aid Yako in finding the secrets behind her father's death and in return he hopes to find the ultimate mystery to satisfy his hunger, literally. He feeds off of mystery and upon solving a case will transform into a horned bird and absorb the solved mystery from the murderer, often leaving the culprit in catatonic state of fear or confusion. Neuro is anything but a kind demon and refers to Yako as his slave, kicking her around. He is also very powerful, impervious to weapoms like guns (his excuse one time is actually that his blinking caught the bullet), and able to use the 777 tools of hells to assist him. Things really become interesting when reports of a mysterious murderer appear, who grinds his victims into gore and places them in a glass box. Yako believes that this "Phantom Thief Sai" may actually be responsible for her father's death. Every clue brings them even closer to Sai and closer to the horrible truth behind his twisted killings.


I'm going to recommend the manga for this series, mainly because it goes much farther into the story than the anime. But if you have the time, go through both. The manga is pretty well drawn and the anime is well animated. The only real thing to keepin mind is that the murders in this anime/manga are very unlikely to have worked and the motives are strange to say the least, but still, it' s an anime. And on final side note, it's gorey and at times disturbing (think tons of blood and lots of screaming) but that's just a small problem in an interesting series.
Monday, December 7, 2009


Okay I cannot believe I have yet to recommend this anime/manga to anyone yet. I will make this simple: I love this series.


Sawada Tsunayoshi is a loser. His self esteem is terrible, he is bad at sports, and his social skills suck. So how do you think he felt when the mob underworld's greatest hitman tells him, due to *ahem Complications, that he is to be the next boss of one of the world's most powerful mafia families? Vongola the 1oth, or Juudaime as he becomes known, is to be the world's best mafia leader and the Hitman Reborn will see to that. What's worse is that Reborn is a one year old child with a fondness for hitting Tsuna in anyway, shape, or form. So now it is up to Tsuna to build his own generation of the Vongola family and to become a strong enough leader to take over when the 9th dies. Obviously Tsuna as a weakling, a coward, and a pacefist is against being the leader of a mafia crime family, but he doesn't have much of a choice so whenever he needs that extra boost he gets shot... no seriously. Reborn shoots Tsuna with what is called the "Dying Will Bullet" and a direct shot to the forhead will result in Tsuna completing any regret he may have with 100% focus in the period of 5 minutes before the effect wears of. If, however, Tsuna has no regrets, he dies. But that is not all the dying will bullet is capable of. Depending on the area the bullet hits, it will do different things. So with this little trick up his sleeve, Tsuna can't lose... sorta. Of course, being next in line for a mafia family means alot and I mean ALOT of people trying to kill you. Half of them even become allies. So what lies in store for Tsuna? What is the secret of Reborns skills? To fully find out, go watch it.


Well that is a very very very simple explanation of this series. It gets much more complicated and diverse as it goes along, but it's worth sitting through. The dialogue is good, the characters are strange and fun, and there is never a lack of originality in this anime/manga. The arcs in particular are as long as those in bleach, so be prepared to be in a certain battle/struggle for long periods of time. Other than a few confusing plot twists, this series is definatly my favorite animes of the moment and worth the 80 some hours it will take to catch up to the subs.

P.S: My costume for Otakon this year is actually from this series.

.._.....__________ ___________,
....../ `---___________---- _______] ---- [__>
...../_==o;;;;;;;;__ _____.:/_-_-_'/
.....), ---.(_(__) /
....// (..) ), __"/
..//___ /
Katekyo Hitman Reborn!


Wow I havve got to stop taking these "brief" haitus'. Well moshi-moshi loyal readers (or not so loyal) It's me Luke back again to recommend another manga after a long while of putting of the blog in favor of Facebook. "Damn you Internet!!!". But either way, this time I'm reviewing a manga by the name of Alive: The Final Evolution.
Young Taisuke Kanou has had a pretty difficult life. Between his parents dying in a car crash when he was very young leaving only himself and his older sister Youko and his constant fighting, he can't seem to find much relief. His only real support are his two best friends Megumi and Hirose. But, after a strange virus starts to spread causing most of its victims to commit a sort of smiling suicide. Men, women, children, no one is safe from the possibility of dying. What's worse is Taisuke' s jealousy when witnessing one of the suicides. Finally to make things worse, Hirose is suspected of brutally murdering a group of upperclassmen that would frequently pick on him. Things become even stranger when Taisuke finds that those who choose to live through the virus are gifted indcredible abilities. These people are referred to as "comrades" and have special ties to eachother allowing them to sense the presence of other "comrades", well at least everyone but Taisuke. Finally, in one horrible turn of events, Hirose reveals that he has gained supernatural powers and did in fact kill the students. After Hirose flees, kidnapping Megumi, Taisuke is left injured and confused. Now he must find his friends and master his power along the way but it won't be easy, there are alot of dangerous "comrades" out there.
Alive is a rather interesting read with a very evolving (no pun intended) story. Every character seems to have a deep emotional scar linked to another person and stems from an otaku with an inferiority complex and the ability to kill you if you break a promise and a "comrade" who hates those with abilities and will do anything in her power to destroy them. The art is good but not perfect, the story is emmersive, and the writer enjoys talking about his pet rabbit (hard to explain). I'd say it's worth reading for now.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Head on over to iTunes or for the newest Artificial Continuum podcast! Delving into movies, games, comics, anime, and more our newest podcast is the best yet. Also featuring the return of Gormy!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wow. Bioware has once again caused nerds to be a constant state of fanboy endused comas. We have had Dragon Age followed by tons of information on Mass Effect 2. Although this might not be good reporting, I really believe the best way to convey the information is in the many videos that Bioware has posted.

Although also of note is that Mass Effect 2 will be on 2 discs on PC AND Xbox 360. The game literally has so much content it cannot fit on one Xbox disc, as far as I know this is the first time this has happened in the history of the Xbox. This will truely be one of the most expansive RPG's in recent years.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars rockets into its second season with an explosive three episode arc, but does it soar or crash? The Clone Wars ended last season with the introduction of the show created bad-ass bounty hunter, Cad Bane. Bane became an overnight fan favorite due to his original design, and his sadistic brutality. Smartly, Dave Filoni, supervising director of The Clone Wars, decided to feature him even more heavily in the opener to the shows sophomore season. Filoni promised darker and more mature storytelling, and to take multiple steps away from the mixed reviewed first season.

Holocron Heist

“Holocron Heist” follows the efforts of Cad Bane, and a small team of other bounty hunters to steal a valuable Jedi holocron, that contains information on all the galaxies force sensitive children. However, Ahsoka, who has been assigned to guard duty for disobeying orders, leads a counter attack to prevent the thievery.

“Holocron Heist” is a mixed bag of an episode. Thankfully, it doesn't delve into stupidity or lame jokes like some episodes in the first season, but instead flounders on several plot points and design flaws. (Problems I'd take any day over the former.) The first major issue is Ahsoka's punishment. While leading a ground assault on Felucia, she refuses to retreat despite her master's urgings that she is about to be overwhelmed by a much larger attack force. Although the battle scene is beautifully animated, and well designed, Ahsoka's attitude seems out of place. In season one, Ahsoka faced a similar situation that ended up killing her entire squad. This experience scarred her deeply, and it was much of a struggle to take up her position of leadership again. However, to have her take part in a similar action in this episode felt counter productive. You would have though such a traumatic event in her character's history would have lead to some change in behavior.

Another problem “Holocron Heist” faces is Cad Bane. Yes, Cad Bane. The same character I was raving about earlier becomes a strange liability to this episode. Bane's introduction scene includes some of the best imagery seen so far in the series, and it really stands out from the rest of the episode. However, the first main problem with Bane comes in the form of his employer, Darth Sidious. Darth Sidious is very much the central villain to the entire Star Wars saga. His appearances are always marked by a sense of dark royalty, and secrecy. To see such a powerful and central character resorting to hiring a bounty hunter to do his bidding seems out of character. At the very least, he would have Dooku, or one of his other subordinates take care of the actual dirty work. Resorting directly to Bane seems like a liability that Sidious wouldn't be willing to take. Another issue with Bane is how the episode frequently depicts him stumbling into various traps or situations that could kill him. These situations feel out of place seeing as Bane is not only a cool and collected character, but a villain. Why should the audience care at all if he is sucked into a wind turbine? He's trying to kill our heroes.

However, on the plus side “Holocron Heist” is a well crafted, and interesting story that plays out very much like a crime drama, but one that includes shapeshifting aliens and robots voice by Seth Green. Despite it's shortcomings, “Holocron Heist” is an enjoyable episode, and sets the tone for episodes to come.

Score: B

Cargo of Doom

Picking up right where the previous episode left off, the episode follows Cad Bane as he steals the second piece to the holocron he stole in the previous episode. While attempting to escape with his cargo and a captured Jedi, Bane is ambushed by Anakin Skywalker and his fleet. After quickly destroying Bane's ragtag group of frigates, Anakin and Ahsoka are forced to board his smoldering capital ship to rescue their capture comrade and holocron.

Unlike the previous episode Bane is once again at the top of his game. He pulls off a series of interesting and devilish traps and moves that like his debut episode, “Hostage Crisis” are fun to watch. At the top of his badassery, Bane deals with his opponents with deadly skill. He even tortures a character to death, a moment that is shocking to see in a series that is primarily aimed to all ages. However, once again aspects of Bane's character seem out of place. The fact that the Separatists would entrust an entire battle fleet to a bounty hunter seems not only uncharacteristic, but just stupid. The Clone Wars series seems to not realize that the Separatists aren't just a group of droids, but a coalition of organic species who have realized that the Republic can no longer sustain itself. They are a political entity, not some mindless group of evil beings, and this episode strays from that idea more then any.

Another issue with the episode was how it handled some of the issues with space. There are two instances in the episode where a character is direclty exposed to space, and survives. In one scene, Anakin and Ahsoka board Cad Bane's vessel wearing little more then space helmets. Later, Bane opens an airlock in an attempt to kill the two Jedi, but the two face little more then being sucked outwards. Realistically, just being exposed to space in those instances would have killed the two instantly.

A highlight of the episode was Anakin's forces first encounter with Bane. Using a device on one of his hand gauntlets, Bane deactivated the gravity in the hanger where he had been corner. Leading to a unique and well designed battle sequences. Droids were shot in half only to find their bodies drifting away from them. Clones were killed and floated upwards like dead fish. And Anakin and Bane dueled like two martial arts fighters. The action overall in this episode was well done, and the whole story had a feeling of urgency.

Overall, this episode was a step up from the previous, and the best of the Bane episodes so far.

Score: -A

Children of the Force

The conclusion to Season 2's opening arc delivers with everything that is right with the Clone Wars and very little that is wrong. This epsiode followed Bane's escape from Anakin's custody, and his and Sidious attempts to capture the Force sensitive children listed in the stolen Holocron. Playing out like a game of cat and mouse between the two sides, the struggle of power between both sides is handled well and actually sees equally matched.

As the chase between both sides spills across the galaxy a wide range of locales are shown, the most ever seen in the series so far. Ranging from the swamp planet of Rodia, Naboo, Bane's space station hideout, and Mustafar, the locations add an epic scope to the episode that actually adds the Jedi's feelings of desperation. Although every one of these locales are portrayed nicely, especially Naboo, the inclusion of Mustafar seems like an odd decision. As the planet where Anakin and Obi-wan held their fateful duel, Mustafar seems like an odd choice. It is utterly bizarre to see the now heroic Anakin jumping about on the planet that symbolizes his fall from grace.

Another noteworthy aspect is the inclusion of Darth Sidious. Although Sidious had played a minor role in the two prior levels, this is the most active role he has had in the series to date. Although he still never appears in person, Sidious's plans for the force sensitive children are stated explicitly and openly by the Sith master himself. Having the shadowy figure play such an open and active role in this episode once again seems like a bizarre link to Revenge of the Sith, that wasn't completely necessary. Dooku, a character already well established in the show, could have carried out the role just as easily. Sidious identity is also made painfully obvious in this episode, which is no surprise to the viewers, but it distracts from the episode at a whole. There is one scene were Palpatine confronts Anakin about the crisis with the Jedi children in which only the ignorant could doubt his identity.

Yet another distraction to the episode was just how cutesy the child Jedi were. With bulbous eyes and bodies that resembled those of Care Bear, the children came off as distraction as a whole. A geek part of me also finds it annoying that Rodian children cry exactly like a human baby.
Despite these complaints Children of the Force was a strong episode. There is a scene in which Mace Windu, Obi-wan, and Anakin attempt to crack Bane's mind with the Force that is incredibly eerie and effective. Bane is once again a show stealer, and it is impressive to see how he turns even losses into victories. The ending scene at Mustafar is also surprisingly climactic and exciting.

Overall while not as strong as the episode prior, Children of the Force is another example of how the Clone Wars is beginning to find its footing.

Score: B+

Sorry for the delay, I've been working on a lot of things lately, and haven't had time to write reviews. The next pod of episodes which deal with the Second Battle of Geonosis should have a review up by the end of next week.