By Professor Spork
Teito Klein, an orphan and former slave, is taken in by the Barsburn Empire's Military Academy. Although ridiculed by other students, most of them nobility, he is befriended by his classmate Mikage, with whom he graduates at the top of his class. Teito has few memories from his past, but he soon remembers the face of the person who killed his father, wasting no time in attacking said culprit. Unfortunately, his father's killer is also a high-ranking military official, and Teito is quickly restrained and locked away. Mikage helps him escape, but the Military believes that Teito is connected to a dethroned king and the stone of god, the Eye of Mikhael, and pursues him all the way to the Church in District 7. However, District 7 is a refuge even the Military can't penetrate, so they resort to using underhanded methods to capture Teito. Meanwhile, our protagonist recuperates in the Church, remembering more about his past, trying to figure out how to save the best friend he left behind, and simultaneously finding himself caught up in a conflict between gods and ghosts.
07 Ghost practically bursts with potential from episode one, introducing the main characters instantly and laying the plot thick. However, the pacing is soon messed up, often becoming too slow and sometimes going too fast. The problem with this is that you fall asleep for two minutes, then wake up to discover you missed someone dying. Details are introduced in the same manner; things which should have been explained within the first two episodes are left till, say, episode five, which only makes for confused and somewhat annoyed viewers.
But that's not what you really notice about 07 Ghost. The first thing you notice about 07 Ghost is the spectacular animation. The anime is overflowing with beautiful characters, bright colours and seamless backdrops. There's plenty of eye-candy to go around. Every single male character is drop-dead gorgeous, with personalities ranging from charming to sadistic to every possible combination of the two. Even the fighting is well-coordinated and interesting to watch, with creative shots and camera angles. The Zaiphon is probably a different kind of magic from what you're used to seeing in anime, using a combination of words and emotions to attack and/or heal. Soundtracks are also suited to the scenes; the organ music and opera voices go very well with the whole gothic fantasy theme. Not to mention the all-star cast of voice actors.
The villain, though, was a big disappointment. If Ayanami ever stopped lounging in his chair and bothered to stand up and do something for once, Teito might actually have been caught. His main job throughout the better part of the series is to literally sit still, smile (deviously) and look pretty. Very, very pretty. Oh, and kill a character or two. Teito, with his flashbacks and obsession with promises he made to Mikage, can get irksome, but the character is executed in a way that almost pushes aside Ayanami and his chair.
Despite these flaws, the way the myths are handled is something to be praised. The director definitely knows his own technical prowess. Character development fluctuates, but this is offset by carefully planned humour and the addition of the most adorable fluffy baby dragon in the anime world. Given the religious nature of 07 Ghost, it's surprising how well the whole thing is handled. The characters display opinions which could be considered borderline offensive, but they never cross the fence in either direction.
Overall, 07 Ghost leaves you thinking it would have been better finished in 13 episodes like Vampire Knight, yet wishing it could drag on to the end of the manga. Conflict or no, it's a must-watch for any anime-lover. Just ignore the mermaid.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are one of the best oddball comedy duos in today's movie industry. From comedy horror Shaun of the Dead to comedy thriller Hot Fuzz, they have given us a ton of laughs and excellent times. This summer, they teamed up again, and with Superbad's director Greg Mottola, created Paul, a movie about a rude, blabbering alien.
Brit geeks and comic book writers Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) come to the US on the pilgrimage known as comic-con. As they make their way across the sci-fi heartland in their RV, they make plans to visit every UFO hotspot in the country. At a secret government base they accidentally stumble upon a talkative, fun-loving alien named Paul (an E.T. look-alike voiced by Seth Rogen) who has been the subject of top secret experiments at the camp for the last sixty years. Graeme and Clive decide to rescue their new friend by returning him to his mother ship and the ensuing adventure transforms the two nerds into intergalactic heroes.
As we weigh the positives and negatives, something has to be said about the special effects. Laid-back alien Paul is a true CGI wonder, and Seth Rogan's voice-over is brilliant. The movie has its moments of glory and, throughout, Pegg and Frost's friendship feels warm and genuine (which, of course, it is as they have been creative partners and colleagues for decades).
However, we can't help comparing Paul with Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, and the difference is stark. Yes it's funny, but the fun is not as original as their previous successes. It is hilarious, but it is also less rebellious. Apart from the fact that we know they can do better, we have to be satisfied with their creation.
Paul is basically a tribute to alien movies and their fans, and in that it succeeds. Probably not the best movie Frost and Pegg ever wrote, but it is amusing and heartfelt.
At the end of the day, this may not be the best comedy of the year or the duo's best, but it certainly beats the mindlessly churned out movies we have been seeing so often lately.
D. O. T
By Munawar Mobin
After a decade of performing underground, D.O.T. is finally coming out with their debut album. This week, RS caught up with some of their band members and had a little chat.
RS: How did the band name come up?
John: Saify has this fascination towards the letter 'C' and I have the same with the alphabet 'D'. Ultimately we just went with 'D.O.T'. We decided that it must stand for the abbreviation for something; 'days of' was fixed right away, and then after a few bad attempts, we got 'Days of Tragedy'.
RS: Introduce yourselves. What do each of you play?
Band lineup is as follows: Saify Syed - vocals ; John - guitar; Hreeshat guitar; Tomal - bass; Abir - drums.
RS: How did you guys meet?
John: Me and Saify were friends but the rest came from mutual links, common acquaintances.
Saify: We met Hreeshat bhai at a friend's roof and he joined our band after we asked him a few times. We three built up chemistry, and it was from then that we decided to become a little serious and start off in earnest.
Saify: At first it was tough.
John: We were young, our parents didn't allow us to get out at the proper timings for jamming; if we did get out, we couldn't take our instruments.
RS: What got you into music in the first place? What inspired you to make music?
John: To be honest, we were all, in a way, self taught. After learning that Saify could play the guitar, we thought about starting a band. It was back in the year 2000 and we were amateurs and a little clumsy. We just started playing together.
Saify: We played songs from Nirvana, Papa Roach, Iron Maiden, but our true influence was Metallica and Megadeth. Right now, all five members have different inspirations in music.
Abir is a progressive drummer and listens to trash metal, John is a true heavy metal guy, following great guitar solos; Hreeshat likes hard rock from the 80s, and Tomal enjoys Bon Jovi. Saify has a thing for psychedelics and is inspired by Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree.
RS: What're your future plans?
Saify: This album is it. But for now, this is me signing out. If I don't see any impact from our albums, we'll go our separate ways. We spent a lot of money, went through a lot of pain for the last ten years and if we have no impact on the world with this, then it's time to call it quits. Unless there is no feedback, we all have our separate careers set.
D.O.T comes out with their debut album 'Shesh' soon, which is an ironic yet appropriate touch. This album is an OST to the movie 'Fireflies'. All profits from the album shall go to charity. They have a Facebook page with their singles uploaded, so be sure to check it out.