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Road Rockets-Bangladeshi Style

By Shaer Duita Fish Reaz

Photos: Salman Muhit

Owning a high performance car in a country like Bangladesh is no small feat. Some actually do pull it off, and in most cases they are part of one of the many car clubs that have sprouted up in recent years. It can be very hard to keep a car club going strong, what with internal squabbles and rivalries, but one club that has pulled through with its head held up high is Club GT. Stay with me every month and watch this space as I take you through the car lineup of one of the premier automotive clubs in Dhaka. Didn't think Dhaka had an automotive scene? Prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Let's start with Club GT's two white pocket rockets: EK9 Civic Type R and EP82 Starlet GT Turbo. Two rival manufacturers, two ways of making power and different routes to high performance stardom.

In championship white paint, the EK9 Type R is one of the only two top-dog Civics in the country. Exclusivity guaranteed, the owner, Shahadath, drives it the way it was meant to be driven: with an extreme sense of pride.

As a stock car, then, the Civic Type R is a very capable car, which can be transformed into a fire breathing street monster. First things first, a Mugen carbon intake makes the engine breathe easier. The ignition system is revamped with an Ultra Racing MDI ignition system controller mated to a Hondata FSD ignition sequence controller, feeding the larger distributor and 9mm spark plug wires. The NGK Iridium IX spark plugs round off the ignition side of things. Coupled with the Jasma 4-2-1 headers and 5-Zigen exhaust system, this Civic is truly blessed with extreme levels of acceleration. Next on the cards, according to the owner, are upgraded brakes and a stage 2 clutch kit.

By comparison, the EP82 Starlet GT Turbo's specs may seem tame. It's not. With this car, Toyota opted for the tried and tested way of turbocharging. The 4EFTE is a true gem of an engine: small, turbocharged, and with a manic appetite for revs. Using a small CT9 turbocharger for instant response almost anywhere in the rev band, the Starlet has no problems providing the kick-in-the-behind acceleration one expects from a turbocharged car. The power to weight ratio is through the roof, giving this Starlet a nimbleness and agility that most cars would kill for. Again, the full complement of anti-roll bars and stiffened suspension components give it the good handling it needs to go along with the acceleration.

Bony, the owner, has kept the Starlet relatively stock: a sports air intake and a 2.5 inch exhaust system take care of the breathe in-breathe out front. A set of NGK 9mm plug wires and NGK Iridium spark plugs round up the upgraded ignition system. An HKS blow off valve gives the 4EFTE the whoosh sound of a turbocharger discharging while an array of gauges such as vacuum, throttle position and boost lets the owner know of the state of things underneath the hood. A set of EBC Red Stuff brake pads help the stock disc brakes rein in all that speed. He says a 5 speed manual conversion is on the cards, including a full Exedy clutch pressure plate combo.

Visually, both cars are striking. A white on white theme seems to be running through these two hot hatches. 15 inch white Honda Type R rims matched with the Championship White paint grace the Civic's taut bodylines. Same with the Starlet: the functional intercooler hood scoop, the gaping wide front grille, the quad headlamps; they speak for the Starlet's performance in a way an aftermarket bodykit never can. Like women, these cars' looks should never be messed with.

It is really hard using and properly maintaining a high performance car in Bangladesh, what with the lack of spares and aftermarket parts keeping the would-be tuners at bay. These two have pulled it off very well, and so hats off to them. Stay tuned for more of the best cars in Bangladesh.

The Vanishing Act

By Professor Spork

There have been times when an entire band folded upon its frontman deciding to take the fame for himself, and times when band members decided on mutiny and kicked out their frontman. We've covered groups and reviewed albums. But these over-ambitious douchebags, they needed an article dedicated all to their egocentric selves.

Dave Mustaine - Revenge rules. Without revenge, there might not have been a Megadeth. Mustaine made lead guitarist of Metallica, and subsequently got addicted to alcohol. Drunkenly setting his dog on fire and electrocuting bassist Ron McGovney (who was soon booted too) got him kicked out twice, but it was only after he assaulted (drunkenly, again) the founders of the band did the team pack up his gear, drive him to the stop, and put him on a bus headed to LA. No, literally. So Mustaine decided (in his drunken state, on the bus) that he “wanted blood. Theirs.” Hence Megadeth came into being, with Mustaine on lead guitar and vocals. Next he vengefully set to firing people, claiming they got too drunk too often. Megadeth's initial music was actually just meant to outdo Metallica. If Metallica released a slow record, Mustaine released a fast one. Megadeth became a legend and a legacy, remaining second only to… Metallica.

Scott Weiland - Despite raves from critics, the Stone Temple Pilots had an amazing run till Weiland, their lead vocalist, discovered (cue drumroll) heroine. Following his arrest for possession in 1995, STP separated, having to cancel a major promotional tour for Tiny Music… As would happen, the public is frivolous, and the twice-reached platinum album instantly dropped out of the charts like a sack of potatoes in the wide blue yonder. As his band went into hiatus, Weiland began a solo career in music and in prison. Critics liked his solo music, but fans still hated him and therefore his own album was an abject failure. He then rejoined his band, went back to prison, joined it again, and guess what? STP's latest album came out just four months ago. It debuted at number 2 on Billboard. What?

Chris Cornell - This guy founded both Soundgarden and Audioslave. Soundgarden probably wouldn't have disbanded had Cornell not insisted on changing the band's mostly original style of music. Note: Back then Obama hadn't surfaced yet. He then released a solo album, trying out his 'new' music, but no one really remembers what became of it. Audioslave was formed when Zack de la Rocha quit Rage Against the Machine, leaving his band searching for another vocalist. Well, they didn't need Cornell quite so much after three awesome albums. Cornell and guitarist Morello pitched into their individual careers, Rage Against the Machine reunited, and Audioslave snapped. The dude returned to his solo career, aaaand Soundgarden came back together this year for a secret concert.

Zack de la Rocha - Zack really wasn't that big a roach. He led Rage Against the Machine to success, and the dissolution wasn't because he was a jerk, but because he was stubborn. Big difference. The others wasted little time in picking up Chris Cornell with his superb vocals and plummeting solo career as replacement. Anyway, Zack stayed true to his political and humanitarian beliefs and released records fiercely protesting the invasion of Iraq and openly dissing Bush, in the process failing to put out his (completed) solo album. Rage Against the Machine came back together a couple of years ago upon Cornell's departure. It's funny how the album they broke up over became possibly one of their best. Bad decision, Zack, almost as bad as the one of giving up meat.

Peter Gabriel - This man almost single-handedly lifted Genesis to success and helped create its unique image. Genesis was among the first to use laser and black lighting in their concerts, and Gabriel's costumes and in-between-songs-weird-stories worked out in its favour. Then he decided to put his family first, offended clingy attention-seeking band-mates, and quit. His solo career flew instantly, and Genesis didn't even fall from the charts. 400 auditions later it had a new frontman, and several other replacements later it grew (granted, gradually) to become another singular legacy. Meanwhile Gabriel became a successful humanitarian, politician and musician, so it worked out well enough for everyone. His outfits were freaky though; wish we could've seen 'em.

Sources: Wikipedia, respective official websites of singers/bands

Anime Review

By Jawad

Comedy (90%), Action (10%)
Ages: 13+

Two hundred and one episodes of awesomeness: that's what Gintama is. Welcome to Rising Stars' first ever review of an anime so lengthy. But it was necessary. Even though Gintama is so epic in terms of its comedy, gags, puns, parodies and action (the bit of it), most anime-lovers in Bangladesh would rate Hayate: The Combat Butler over it, due to the lack of exposure of Gintama, mainly because it has not yet been shown in any anime/cartoon streaming channel in Bangladesh (e.g. Animax, Cartoon Network). Hopefully the situation will change. Dive:

Something of a plot:
“I couldn't care less about this cheap country. I don't care if the samurai fall or not. Then and now... what I want to protect... has never once changed.” Gintoki Sakata, the protagonist.

In an alternate timeline Edo is taken over by aliens called Amanto. The samurai didn't stand a chance against their superior technology. Their jobs and their swords were taken away. So what does a samurai like Gintoki, feared as the Shiroyasha (White Demon) during the war, do? Do anything that comes in his way, with sidekicks Shinpachi and Kagura. Gintoki Sakata is not the average protagonist of a shonen series (aimed at teenage boys). He scarcely displays the qualities that are so much common to other heroes of this genre: growing stronger with time, determination to win the fight, becoming the best fighter, enormous drive to save comrades, idiocy (yes, idiocy) and above all the young age (Gin being almost 30 physically, almost 60 mentally). In fact Gin would rather play underhanded tricks to win, would spend hours ridiculing others and would do nothing at all. But the odd jobs he does, meet him up with people everywhere and somehow he always manages to stay in the middle of things.

Grin, smirk, giggle, LOL, ROFL:
You would be disappointed if you looked for plot and a general storyline. Gintama is mainly episodic. You would be more disappointed if you looked for a battle oriented samurai story. Gintama is purely an anime for the fun of it. There is hardly anything left which hasn't been made fun of yet. The fourth wall keeps on breaking. The wonderfully illustrated characters keep on worrying over censorship issues as they keep on making jabs at other manga and anime series. But there are action-oriented arcs scattered here and there. When you watch them you can't but wonder, “Why the heck this author isn't trying for more of these sword-fights?” The answer is simple- Gintama is purely for the laughs. Action: okay, tear-jerkers: okay, but there is not ONE episode where you can't find a LOL moment. I mean it. Excess toilet-humour might put people off, but if you can tolerate this, you can't find a better anime than Gintama for laughs.

Voice Acting:
Talking about Gintama will never be completed without mentioning the sheer awesomeness of the voice acting. I am telling you now, whatever you do; don't forget to watch the Japanese dubbed version of Gintama. It's over 9000 times better. You may not know Japanese, but the way the voice actors did their jobs, actually intensifies the jokes.

The Verdict:
Gintama is definitely the best choice if you are looking for something to keep you busy for some days and in the process satisfy your daily humour demands. Gin, Shinpachi, Kagura, Shinsengumi's Kondou, Hijikata, Okita, Joui's Katsura and Elizabeth, Shinpchi's sister Otae, these wide ranges of characters are pure win! The action sequence in those rare arcs is awesome. Toilet humour is a bit excessive, but mind, this manga is ongoing at Weekly Shonen Jump, which has a pretty good censorship. So you can rest easy. And the fact that it is a comedy anime and it ran for 201 episodes means that it is truly something else. The trouble you'd have to go through to gather all the episode will be worth it.


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