Dec 31, 2010

'Fever Crumb' and 'A Web of Air'

A few years ago I read a quartet of books called Mortal Engines - set in a post apocalyptic world where most cities are motorised and live under a principal called 'Municipal Darwinism' - and I absolutely loved them. So, Imagine my excitement when a few months ago I discovered the author Philip Reeve had written a couple of prequels (and after a quick look on Wikipedia it appears he may be writing more!) called Fever Crumb and A Web of Air. Unfortunately it was a while before I was able to read them and at about 6:30am this morning, after failing to fall asleep all night, I finished A Web of Air.

The two prequels are set around the first novels namesake: Fever Crumb - A young heterochromatic girl taken in by London's Order of Engineers after being found abandoned as a baby. Unlike the main series there are not yet any motorised cities at the beginning of this book and so London is still a static settlement. After spending her life being raised in the 'rational' environment of the Order Fever is sent to help an archaeologist who needs help with a dig and soon enough (without going into too much detail) Fever finds her life threatened as she is mistaken for a member of an old mutated tyrant race called the Scriven who once ruled London, this is also alongside a rising threat from the north as a barbarian race who move on motorised settlements known as The Movement are moving towards London with their own agenda. Throughout the book Fever is thrown into life or death situations against her will and soon enough by the end of the book (which I'd say was predictable by from start, but only because of the original series) London sets to become motorised.

After leaving London at the end of the first book Fever is travelling with the Lyceum theatre, working below the stage with the new electrical lighting set to distinguish the Lyceum from other theatres. The story takes place when they stop in the city of Mayda, built inside the crater of what I can only imagine was a nuke during the 'Downsizing'. Within this city is a young boy named Arlo Thursday, who is set to unlock the mystery of flight which have been lost for centuries. It is not all good news however as there are some who don't want the mysteries of flight recovered. Of course, Fever finds herself tangled up in the trouble yet again, all while still trying to come to terms with the irrational world outside of the Order as well as emotions she previously looked down upon as irrational. Although I think the ending might not have been the best choice [!SPOILER if the plane was destroyed and flying looks to be outlawed for generations to come, what was the whole point of the book? We still don't know how flight returned to the world. SPOILER!] it was still as brilliant as the rest of the Mortal Engines world and leaves me hoping beyond hope that there is another, because after 6 books I am still not ready to let go of Reeve's enthralling world.

The way Fever starts isolated from the real world in the first book to being thrown straight into it by the second makes you really feel a connection with Fever, because you are there as she comes to terms with the irrational world, irrational emotions and changes into her own person.

If you have read and loved the original quartet then it is an absolute must that you read these prequels as you will undoubtedly adore them too and it's always fun when you see names and things you recognise from the originals (including a certain Stalker) and know how Fever's world is set to evolve. Just like the rest of my posts seem to end I recommend that if you haven't read the originals, that you read them too! I suppose it doesn't really matter if you read the prequels first or after the original series because they are completely independent series. These books can easily be enjoyed by children and adults alike and I near guarantee you'll get sucked into them too. This'll also be my first excuse to use this fancy Amazon widget thing, although I can only seem to use the US site, so it's in dollars. I'm also not able to find them all with the same style of cover deign which bothers my sense of neatness.


Dec 29, 2010

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

In a surprisingly quiet Christmas game-wise I only really wanted Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. My only experience of Assassin's Creed beforehand was the first 20 or so minutes of Assassin's Creed 2 so I spent a few minutes on Christmas Eve reading up on the plot of the previous two, which gave me some idea what was going on when I started.

I immediately got into the game, both story and game-play. Free running+Sandbox world is definitely a winning combination. The graphics are also a significant improvement from what I saw in that 20 minutes of the second game. The game's version of Rome is rather accurate from what I can tell of my visit there 2 years ago and is made much easier to explore thanks to the ability to call horses (which seem to appear from thin air, rivers or even walls) and ride from one side to the other with relative speed. The new aspect of recruiting civilians and training them until they become fully fledged Assassins is also a great idea. You can send them off on missions throughout Europe, earning you money and items whilst also levelling them up and they can be extremely useful to call upon when you're in a sticky situation. Although I did find myself calling upon them for almost everything to the point I barely did any work myself.

The only real complaint I have story-wise is the execution of Sequence's 8 and 9. I found myself being thrown from mission to mission with no connecting cinematic and then I simply had no idea how I got to the situation in Sequence 9. The final mission at the end as Desmond seemed to be nothing but bouts of platforming between cinematics and story telling but I found it enjoyable enough.

Disappointed with the lack of Engineer or Blacksmith

Of course, there is Brotherhood's biggest new feature: Online Mutliplayer. I have been playing this daily with my friends (as either the Engineer or Blacksmith whenever we have the chance) and we all love it. The basics consist of players choosing a character (with many NPC's as the same character) and either hiding from other Assassins or trying to hunt out others amidst the dozens of identical NPCs. You get a certain amount of points depending on how you take out your target, so sneaking up or jumping from a rooftop will get you much more points than if you sprint around like an idiot. The current game modes consist of Wanted - a free-for-all where you are both the hunter and the hunted (along with an 'advanced' variant which apparently makes it harder to find targets), Manhunt - Two teams of four takes turns hunting and hiding, and Alliance - Similar to Wanted but with three teams of two. There are also various abilities, perks and kill/loss streaks (along with different costumes colours and extra characters) you unlock as you progress through the levels with each being very useful, especially in certain combinations. There are only about 5 maps (with one more apparently coming out along with Advanced Alliance) but you probably won't seem to mind as you'll be having too much fun.

I completed this game yesterday, and yet I have no intention of stopping playing it any time soon. I still have plenty of things to do in 16th Century Rome - renovating buildings and shops, completing various other missions and achieving 100% synch (another new feature) on missions I failed to achieve it on. Along with this I also have Virtual Training (which I'm not too bothered with) and the ever-so-enjoyable Multiplayer. I haven't had a desire to 100% complete a game this much since Mass Effect 2 earlier this year and this is easily one of the best games I have played, being a welcome breath of fresh air among the hordes of First Person Shooters, Racing and Sports games coming out these days, and I think it's even more of an achievement due to the fact I haven't even played the first two games and I was still completely immersed.

I know that more or less all the 'review' kind of things I've done so far have been extremely positive, but I suppose I just always choose thins that I will undoubtedly love. If you've played and enjoyed the first two games I strongly recommend this as you will undoubtedly love it and if, like me, you haven't even played the first two I still recommend you buy this, although you may be better off playing at least the second game first (which I plan to do eventually) so you have a bit more of an idea of what's going on.

Dec 26, 2010

Lack of Posts

In the extraordinary chance that someone actually regularly checks this site, I shall apologise for the severe lack of posts lately.

The reason, quite frankly, is that absolutely nothing particularly noteworthy is happening in the news and there hasn't been anything else to really post about. However, the Fall season is coming to an end so I'll probably be making a post on End of Season Impressions soon even though all but one of them are going to run into next season, I'll then make a Shiki post a week or so later because that still has one episode left. I may also make an Angel Beats! post on the two new special episodes once I get a chance to re-watch the first when it's re-released in 720p because the quality of the first version I watched was just plain cancerous. A new 720p version of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya is also being released tomorrow, which gives me plenty excuse to watch that masterpiece all over again.

I know this is all a bit anime-centric but unless somebody gets off their ass and creates some interesting news, there's nothing else to post about. I might make a post on Assassins Creed: Brotherhood when I finish it though...

Fuck Yeah Misaka <3

Even though I failed to say so yesterday: 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A little bit more RailDex Christmas for you

Dec 20, 2010

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya

After hours and hours waiting for it download and then a bit of tweaking to get the 1080p to run somewhat acceptably on my crappy computer I finally watched The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya and it was quite simply incredible. Not only was the animation so much better (understandable since it was a film) but the story was top-notch and they even managed to develop the characters further after two series. I grew towards Yuki much more than I had previously, especially her alternate self, and couldn't help but love Haruhi throughout as her typical self (with her behaviour at the beginning making me think even more that she resembles K-ON!!'s Ritsu).

Despite it's 163 minute running time not once was I bored and willing it to end and when it finally did end I was actually a bit disappointed there wasn't more, I'd have been more than happy to spend the whole day watching. The pacing is perfect, with revelations around every corner yet still remaining easy to follow.

I'm aware that I'm not exactly the best reviewer ever but the main impression I want you to get from this post is: Watch It! If you've watched the series - watch this film, if you haven't watched the series - watch the series then watch this film. You will NOT regret it. It'll be a long time before I watch something that tops this.

Dec 18, 2010

Bite Me - Episode 1 - "Outbreak"

Introduced to me by the ever so brilliant Philip DeFranco, here is the first episode of Bite Me, a webseries about three gamer friends and a zombie apocalypse. Although the first episode (linked above) didn't get me too interested it quickly improved and gets better every episode in my opinion. I enjoy the comedy a lot and as a gamer myself I feel drawn to the ever so socially awkward characters. For me the biggest draw is to whole zombie angle because if something has zombies the chances are I'll love it!

I'd recommend clicking the button to watch this on YouTube, because embedded quality is balls.

Dec 14, 2010

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Debut Trailer

Not as exciting (in my eyes) as Mass Effect 3, but exciting nonetheless, is the debut trailer of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a direct sequel to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I played a bit of Oblivion before giving up when I was stuck on some puzzle near the end of Shivering Isles (which I shouldn't have went to straight away in hindsight) but I'm still pretty pumped for Skyrim. But still, Mass Effect 3 is much more exciting in my eyes, time to buy it again and buy a truckload of Microsoft Points for the DLC.

Dec 13, 2010

Mass Effect 3 Debut Trailer

Oh My God!!!!!! There are simply no words to portray my excitement. Looks awesome even if it's just a video trailer, 'tis just a shame we have to wait a year for it. I think I need to buy Mass Effect 2 again (sold it to fund Final Fantasy XIII) and buy all the DLC when I can so I can have one final playthrough. It's a shame my Mass Effect one save files were lost...

Dec 9, 2010

Coalition 1-0 Students

With a vote of 323 to 302 the Coalition won the Parliamentary vote on tuition fees, despite criticism from Labour and rebellion from Lib Dem and Tory backbenchers. The coalition's proposed rise in tuition fees has led to the resignation of two ministerial aides – Mike Crockart and Jenny Willott. Two former Lib Dem leaders, Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell, were among the 21 Lib Dem MPs who rebelled against the government proposals. Eight Lib Dems also abstained, although two were due to being at the climate change summit in Mexico.

As the debate was under way students were protesting outside parliament. After initially starting peacefully protests started to become violent towards the evening (as news of the votes result spread through the crowd), resulting in clashes with police, vandalising of the Treasury building with graffiti and window smashing and even an attack on the car of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla as they were unfortunate enough to drive past a group of protesters. Officers with riot shields and helmets charged at the protesters in an attempt to control them and there has again been reports of unnecessary violence (with one person even being knocked unconscious) and injuries to both protesters and police.

As stated in my previous post on tuition fees protests I am very much against the rise in tuition fees, so I am extremely disappointed in today's result. These rises are avoidable (80% university teaching budget cuts? C'mon!!) and students really don't need the large amount of debt University education will now bring. On the plus side the Lib Dems look unlikely to get anywhere in government for a long time after abandoning their pledge (although some did show they have principles and stuck to their promises). Despite these controversies I am still an avid Conservative; at least they didn't throw away a promise which got them most of their votes.

Dec 7, 2010

Julian Assange Arrested!

WikiLeaks founder was arrested today at 9:30am by British police on behalf of Swedish authorities. He was charged at the city of Westminster magistrates with one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape. Bail was refused and he now faces a stay in HMP Wandsworth until December 14th. Assange's lawyers claim allegations are made up and are politically motivated over the Embassy Cables scandal, a viewpoint held by many others.

This arrest comes after MasterCard and Visa cut off support for WikiLeaks (yet still letting you fund the Ku Klux Klan), as well as PayPal and Amazon cutting ties with the site.

Despite the arrest WikiLeaks has pledged to continue publishing the Embassy Cables.

I personally share the view that this arrest is motivated more by the leaked Cables than these supposed rape allegations (which appear rather weak), especially as efforts to arrest Assange weren't really strong despite these rape allegations being present long before the leak of the embassy Cables.

Dec 5, 2010

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

I downloaded The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya towards the end of the summer and haven't been able to watch it because I've been too busy for anything other than the odd currently airing episode. With the BD/DVD release of the film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya only 2 weeks away I have decided to force myself to watch! I planned to watch yesterday but got distracted by a rather fun day of Halo: Reach. This morning I started watching... and watching... and watching, until 8 episodes later when I decided I needed a break! I love it! I wouldn't be surprised if I watch a few more episodes tonight. It's been a while since I've watched a full previously aired series and I'd forgotten the merits of being able to watch as many episodes as I please without waiting a week. I've only just begun the series and I'm already excited for the film in 2 weeks (which I've heard VERY good things about), although I'm also dreading The Endless Eight episodes. Now I understand the popularity of this show! The rest of my Sunday shall be spent reading the latest BBC History Magazine, maybe playing a bit of Halo: Reach, the newest Star Driver episode, and then probably another 4 episodes of Haruhi!

Dec 4, 2010

Views and News

From a promising 6 views on the first and second days of this blog, views fell to 5, then plummeted to 1 and then to two days of no views at all! Before getting 2 views yesterday and a measly 1 today. Where these views even come from (in terms of links and sites) I have no idea (except for one from an search) but it's quite interesting to see they've come from Europe, Asia and North and South America and that Chrome and Windows are most popular (and rightly so). Getting worldwide viewers is rather cool.

I don't know why views have suddenly plummeted either, or how to regain them. I am part of no forums where I can post the link in my signature, nor do I want to post it on social networking sites because I'm perhaps too scared of criticism from people I actually know. It's too early to appear in any Google searches and I've tried adding it to blog sites but nothing seems to have happened there yet.

I also have another disadvantage: Absolutely nothing interesting is happening in the news! Without news I can make barely any posts, and that makes it even more unlikely for people to find their way here.

I suppose this blog is in its birth still, but going days with absolutely no views is still a bit crappy. I suppose this way it lives up to its name... the small things heh. With lack of news or anything to post about there'll probably be barely any posts for a while, making it even less likely to get any views. Not that there's any point in even making this post, as nobody is going to actually see it...

Dec 3, 2010

Arsenic Based Life - Is It Too Good To Be True?

Anyone with an interest in Science or just anyone who checks the news regularly will have no doubt heard about the NASA discovery of a new bacterium in a Californian lake that thrives on the toxic chemical arsenic. This has massive implications for the possibility of extraterrestrial life as originally it was thought (based on life on Earth) that oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus were necessary for life. However, this new bacterium is able to use arsenic in it's molecular make up instead of phosphorus and even incorporate it into its DNA.

It is not yet known how arsenic gets incorporated into its molecules or how they operate but that will perhaps come in time. The ability of this bacterium to live not only with arsenic but also to incorporate it into its molecular make-up and DNA increases the possibility of life on planets that aren't Earth-like and contain all sorts of chemicals toxic to us.

However, the scientific community is split over these results, with many questioning their validity. Some of the doubt is coming from the fact that in order to measure the modified DNA it has to be put into a water-containing gel, which would rapidly dissolve any arsenate molecules and so any hypothesis that arsenate might replace phosphate in biomolecules must take this into account. Some are playing with the idea that perhaps arsenate was being stabilized by yet another molecule or being stuffed away in shielded bubbles in huge amounts.

Only the coming months will prove whether or not these finding are true. In the past there have been many other discoveries published but later proved wrong after further testing, but hopefully this will not be one of them as the possibilities it opens to extraterrestrial life are just too intriguing.

Dec 1, 2010

Magic Mars Bars

An interesting perspective on illegal downloading from good ol' charlieissocoollike:

It's Snowing Everywhere!!!!! ...Except Here

As December begins heavy snowfall has hit Britain, closing schools, airports and motorways. Six inches of snow has prompted Gatwick, Britain's second busiest airport, to close for the day and the country is a blanket of white.

That is... except for where I live. With snowfall predicted for the rest of the week for large portions of the country not a single speck of snow is predicted to land here. Instead, I have to walk to the bus stop in the freezing cold, suffer the cold occasionally during the day, and then suffer again on the walk from the bus stop to home before locking myself inside with the heating on full for the rest of the day. At least heavy snow would allow me to stay at home all day and even have a bit of fun perhaps, but no, just bitter cold and wind. After last years snow many have hopes of a repeat this year, unfortunately for me I realise that as likely just a blip in the last 15 or so snow-less years and that there will once again be no white Christmas for me, just a darn cold one!

In the mean time, here's last years snowman:

Nov 30, 2010

Student Protests - Part 3

Today, in England, saw the third wave of nationwide student protests against the plans to triple tuition fees.

Despite freezing weather thousands of university students, sixth formers and even younger secondary school students took to the streets. Unlike the previous two protests today's have been relatively peaceful with only a few minor problems such as the London protest deviating from the route agreed with police, clashes with police as they tried to forcefully clear Trafalgar Square at nightfall, and a number of scuffles at Bristol University. A large number of protests took the form of occupations of certain university rooms or buildings, with up to 32 still being occupied since the second round of protests last week.

There were chaotic scenes in London when 4,000 students marching towards parliament attempted to evade what they believed were police trying to 'kettle' them by dispersing across the city in separate marches, causing trouble for police attempting to control protests. The Met denied intentions to 'kettle' protesters despite the presence of metal barriers and rows of police officers along Whitehall. Instead, they blamed the protesters for all the confusion by beginning the march at an earlier than planned time.

Others marches in the country were more peaceful. In Newcastle students occupying a university building marched through the city centre peacefully with Northumbria police saying they had "nothing but praise" for the protesters with "no arrests and no reports of any trouble of any kind". Similarly peaceful protests took place in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Belfast and Nottingham. There were some troubles in Brighton after 600 protesters marching through the city attempted to force their way into Hove town hall before 100 scaled the roof of a car park and proceeded to throw missiles at police. However, no arrests were made. Students in Liverpool also scaled a roof, with two arrests made. In Birmingham around 40 protesters stormed a council hall building, prompting a stand-off with security and police - Leeds and Oxford saw similar events. Bristol also saw troubles as 1,000 protesters lit flares and marched through the city, ending in ten arrests and the M32 being closed then the march seemed to be heading towards the motorway.

The scale and spread of protests this month has shocked authorities who fear movements against various government cuts could spread. There are further marches planned for the 9th and 11th of December, and again on the day the vote on tuition fees takes place (rumoured to be mid December).

I have strong feelings against the rise in tuition fees but unfortunately have had little chance to take part in any of the protests held so far. I understand that a rise may be necessary but I see tripling them as far too unacceptable even if you don't start repaying the debts until you start earning £21,000. I can only hope that the frequent protests will get to MP's (in particular those slimy Lib Dems) by the time the vote takes place and convince them to vote against the rise.

Nov 29, 2010

WikiLeaks - China prepared to abandon North Korea

One of perhaps the most controversial leaks relates to yesterdays post on the troubles in Korea.

According to leaked US embassy cables China are getting fed up of their North Korean allies, referring to them as a "spoiled child". The comments came from China's vice foreign minister as he told US officials that the April 2009 missile tests were just a way of gaining Washington's attention. China also appear to be readying for the reunification of Korea, with officials assessing that they could cope with 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability before having to use military to reseal the border. A Chinese ambassador also warned that North Korea's nuclear activity was "a threat to the whole world's security".

South Korea's then vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, has also claimed to have been told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, a view which was becoming popular with Beijing, especially from younger Communist Party leaders who no longer feel North Korea is a useful or reliable ally. Chun has said North Korea has already collapsed economically and that a political collapse in inevitable after Kim Jong-il's death despite efforts to obtain Chinese help and secure his son, Kim Jong-un's, succession.

Both Chun and a senior Chinese official have said China's influence over North Korea is over-estimated and they are unable to dissuade them from their self-defeating policies, with public opinion getting increasingly critical of the North's behaviour.

In summary, it would appear the end may be nigh for North Korea and, with it, the division of the Korean Peninsula. Events over the last couple of weeks, perhaps even caused by realisation that their time might be running out, may work as a catalyst towards China's abandonment. However, not everyone is in agreement with the validity of these reports (coming from a South Korean interpretation) or how ready Beijing is to abandon the North.

Personally, I feel the collapse of North Korea and reunification of the peninsula is the best situation, leading me to hope that these reports are true and that we will have a unified Korea within the next few years with minimum bloodshed.

Fall 2010 Mid-Season Impressions

With very little news other than the WikiLeaks release of the US embassy cables, which is far too complicated for a simple little blogger like me to report any more effectively than my previous post, I have decided to build upon the anime aspect of the blog with short little summaries of my feelings for the shows I'm watching this season.
In no particular order:

To Aru Majutsu no Index Season II
There was quite some time between my watching of the first and second seasons despite my plans to re-watch the first before the second began, so I can't fully remember everything about the characters and some seem different. Anyway, this season is just as promising as the first. I wasn't immediately a fan of the first arc, but grew to it as it reached it's conclusion. Since then I've fallen in love with the show all over again. Then again, this has been since the re-introduction of Misaka Mikoto, and in my eyes anything featuring her cannot go wrong. The latest episode did feature quite a number of completely unneeded and rather over the top fanservice moments which annoyed me slightly. In summary the new season looks promising, although my judgement may be clouded by Misaka.

Star Driver
I'm not sure how to feel about this show. I like the characters (oh fish girl <3), I like the soundtrack, I like the animation, and I somewhat like the story. What bothers me though is the same formula used over and over in almost every episode. Introduction of new character -> stuff happens -> find out character is member of Glittering Crux Brigade -> stuff happens -> Zero Time fight -> Tauburn wins after initially struggling -> stuff happens/plot twist. Despite this formulaic approach it keeps dragging me back, perhaps because it's working, or perhaps because I hope each time that it will do it differently. I think I'll enjoy this series until the end but from what I've seen so far it's a long way from being memorable past the end of the season.

On paper I probably wouldn't have had much interest in a story of two guys making a manga together, but due to one of my favoured fansub groups subbing it and some positive reception I gave it a go. I don't know why, but I love it. I enjoy watching two characters through the trials and tribulations of achieving their dream, and I even enjoy the romance elements. I find the characters very likeable and grew to them quickly. Some people call it boring and slow but personally I feel it goes at the perfect pace and manages to somehow keep each episode as entertaining as the last. Despite how much I enjoy this I doubt I'll get the urge to watch it any time soon once it ends but at the moment I'm putting it down as one of the best show's I'm watching right now.

Ore no Imouto
Perhaps the only reason I'm watching this is because my favourite fansub group is subbing it, and their choices are yet to let me down, rather than the story, although it did interest me. This series can be rather hit and miss. Most episodes are fun to watch and can be very relatable, but occasionally it comes out with bouts of completely unneeded fanservice and can get a bit too incesty. Episodes 7 and 8 were a bit off too, where the idea of Kirino suddenly writing a bestselling novel after already being shown to be utter crap at it, and then getting an anime was just too much to let slide. Once again this doesn't seem like a particularly memorable series and I can easily see myself forgetting about it once the next season gets under way.

Shinryaku! Ika Musume
I didn't start watching this show until it was about 5 episodes in but after seeing a video of the mini-Ika short I felt compelled to watch it. Almost immediately it grew on me, being simple fun with likeable characters, especially the eccentric Squid Girl (Ika Musume). Despite being a good bit of fun every week the lack of underlying story limits it for me, as I just adore a good ol' yarn. However, I'm fine with this show being a bit of comedic relief rather than a gripping story, but again don't see myself remembering too much of it a couple of seasons from now.

This seems to be a bit of a case of leaving the best till last. I'm not too experienced with the realm of horror anime, in fact I think this may be my first (Highschool of the Dead doesn't count...). Carrying on from the previous season, it has gripped me weekly despite the somewhat broken up release schedule during the transition between seasons. The fact I'm a sucker for a decent vampire story works in it's favour, especially as it's mainly the traditional view (vulnerable to sunlight, stakes, can only enter when invited etc.). This was another case of starting it once it was a few episodes in after hearing nothing but praise, and boy am I glad I did. It's true that it did start off a little slow but not enough for it to have become a problem. At the time of writing it's on episode 17 and in full swing yet still with plenty of questions left to be answered. I would recommend this to almost anyone, especially if you're into vampires or just horror in general. There's even a werewolf thrown in, but I don't know how much will be built upon that. I can see this going down as one of my all-time favourites.

In case you were interested, the groups I get these from are:
gg fansubs - Star Driver and Bakuman
Mazui Subs - Ore no Imouto and To Aru Majustsu no Index II
Umee fansubs - Shiki
Underwater Subs - Shinryaku! Ika Musume

Nov 28, 2010

WikiLeaks Releases Over 250,000 US Embassy Cables

There is extremely big news currently concerning the leak of over 250,000 secret US Embassy cables to various worldwide newspapers by WikiLeaks.

There is far too much information for me to get into one post and it's getting rather late. So for anyone who for some reason might be reading this (I had 1 view from the US yesterday!) I'll simply link to my personal favourite for online news, The Guardian.

Main Story

Live Updates

EDIT: The WikiLeaks database is up!

Every Anime Opening Ever Made

On my travels around the internet I found this video. It is a compilation of numerous anime opening sequences displaying the repeated imagery used over and over again. It's both interesting and rather humorous when you think of just how cliché most anime openings are. Whilst watching I couldn't helping thinking of several other anime I've watched that have most of the trends shown in this video. I'd recommend clicking on the video to watch it on YouTube rather then embedded as you can get somewhat higher quality.

Tensions Grow In Korea Over US-South Joint Military Exercises

Considering the numerous issues that have been popping up on the Korean peninsula during the week, it must be of little surprise that my first news post is concerning the latest development.

The latest issue on the peninsula is the four day long 'naval war games', starting today in the Yellow Sea, between the US and South Korea. These war games include the use of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and despite Seoul and the US insisting these exercises are both routine and pre-planned the North has called them an "unpardonable provocation" and threatened a "sea of fire" if any North Korean territory is violated.

As tensions reach an all-time high since the end of the Korean War in 1953 a senior official in Beijing has suggested emergency talks between representatives from Pyongyang and Seoul, China, the US, Russia and Japan, to take place early next month, to discuss major issues between the North And South. However, such talks seem unlikely to take place after North Korea walked out of similar talks two years ago and with Seoul insisting now is not the right time. Despite this, the mere suggestion of these talks from North Korea's only significant ally and the sole outside country with any effect on it's actions are very significant. They also work to highlight how serious the situation is as China has been previously criticised for not doing enough to control the North, more recently from the South's president Lee Myung-Bak who claimed China are not exerting enough pressure on North Korea and called for them to contribute to peace  in a "more objective, responsible" manner.

North Korea has also condemned the South over last weeks artillery fire on the island of Yeonpyeong which killed two soliders and two civilians and injured a further 18. The North has accused the South of using civilians as human shields around the island's military installations. North Korea described the civilian deaths as "regrettable" but blamed the South for placing residents on the island, which Pyongyang insists is North Korean territory. On the South Korean side however, is the view that these attacks, seen as the most serious single military incident since the end of the war, were unprovoked and have put South Korea on a footing for war. This is perhaps most illustrated in the words of the South Korean military commander, Major-General You Nak-jun, at a funeral for the marines killed in Yeonpyeong. The commander insisted "Our marine corps ... will carry out a hundred – or thousand-fold…" in retaliation of any further attacks, adding "We will put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones and take our revenge on North Korea".

At the same time there were protests in Seoul demanding a tougher response. These protests included a demonstration by around 70 former special forces troops wearing white headbands, who confronted riot police with wooden batons and fire extinguishers in front of the defence ministry. Elsewhere, 1,000 marine veterans chanted slogans like "Time for retaliation. Let's hit the presidential palace in Pyongyang" as they burned North Korean flags and portraits of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and his son and eventual successor Kim Jong-un.

Unfortunately, these recent developments, along with the unexpected revelation by North Korea of an apparently ultra-modern uranium enrichment facility that could improve its ability to add to its nuclear weapons capability, make it clear that tensions will not decrease for a while, and from the threats being fired from both sides there could perhaps be a reignition of the Korean War after 57 years of somewhat peaceful relations.

Nov 27, 2010

Welcome To My Humble Little Blog!

Welcome internet adventurer!

After a long time of consideration (and thinking of a name which I will likely change several times) I have decided to add to the cornucopia of blogs present on the internet, because my opinions are more special than everyone else's... right?

Anyway, this blog will most likely consist of random pieces of worldwide news (mainly British) because I'm obviously a much better source than all the other newspapers and news sites, a little bit of anime, a little bit of games, a little bit of technology, and finally, the occasional post about absolutely anything that I just happen to be thinking of or want to share.
In short: This blog will contain a little bit of everything (one of many blog names I tried only to be told it was unavailable).

In the assumption that by the time this blog starts getting regular visitors (because that's likely [/sarcasm]) I would like to say "Hi There Reader! What made you look all the way back into the deep dark depths of the archive?".

For tonight I shall bid thee farewell, and tomorrow I shall begin posting... that is if there's any interesting news.