By Qazi Mustabeen Noor
We have all had our experience with fussy toddlers, but Tatsumi Oga has a bigger problem at hand; the baby he has to raise is from hell. This juvenile delinquent from Ishiyama High was on the riverbank doing what he does best - fighting a bunch of goons. There he saw a muscular man floating past him. With one mighty whack on the head, the man splits clean into half and out comes a cute little baby! The little one immediately takes a liking to his violent saviour and refuses to let go. If that wasn't enough, the baby's maid Hildegard appears out of nowhere and gives Oga this great news - Beelzebub, a pint-sized demon prince is on a mission to destroy humanity. And he has chosen Oga as his surrogate parent! Unless he finds someone stronger, meaner, and more ruthless for little Beel to attach to, he'll be doomed to raise the tyke until he's old enough to reduce the world to rubble. Luckily Oga goes to the most violent school in Japan, so finding such a person shouldn't be hard. Should it?
Beelzebub is originally a 12 volume manga, proudly holding the position of the 15th best selling manga of 2011 according to Tokyo Otaku Mode. There is much to be said about an anime that wants its viewers to have nothing but pure entertainment. Ignore logic, let go of subject matter and indulge in its never ending crazy hilarity. It simply means that it has an unlimited supply of nonsense for you to laugh at. The show is indebted to the 2000-made anime 'Da Da Da!!!' which of course, had a similar plot - two teenagers raising a baby alien. The makers of Beelzebub decided to end the comparison right there. They took out the sweetness and replaced it with the goodness of wholesome Shounen humour.
One of the greatest strengths of the anime are the characters. Tough guy Oga, ever faithful Furuichi, deadly diva Hilda and Arandon are beautifully portrayed. Baby Beel however, makes it clear that there's only one star of the show - him. A great deal of the humour comes from the sparkly-eyed look Beel gets when confronted with guns, anarchy, and things babies really shouldn't like.
The artwork is typical Shounen style which is, well, much too common in the realm of anime. It basically is an anime that is not designed to look extraordinary. Motion is more suggested than shown, and when shown it is unconvincing or just plain unimpressive. A typical fight scene consists of repeated visualisation of Oga's clenched fist, disfigured faces of the goons he is fighting - and that's it; end of fight. The music score does justice to the fights by not interfering much with them. But the opening and ending themes do strike a chord. 'Beelzebub' may lack a few technicalities, but it has focus as to where the story is going.
Oga isn't quite the devil he is supposed to be; heartless, to be sure, but he lives by some firm principles that when broken (by others) brings out the retributive beast in him. He's clearly a better man than the delinquents he tries to pawn Beel off on. But Beelzebub, who is supposedly attracted to evil, spurns them all. Whether that is a loophole in the plot or a clue to future developments is not clear yet. But for now, all we can do is sit back and enjoy!
By Bill Willingham
Once again Vertigo has decided to awe and shock the world. Though we are a little late in reviewing this comic as it first started publishing in 2002, the good part is it's still an ongoing series.
This comic series is the most interesting, in this writer's opinion, from Vertigo yet. It beats 'Y the last man' by quite a bit. Why? Because it's about how characters from famous fairy tales have travelled to and are now living in our world as their worlds have been taken over by a ruthless ruler known as 'The Adversary'. The characters call themselves 'Fables' and have settled themselves in our world until it's safe to return to their homelands. The main characters set up in New York City (where else?) and form a community called 'Fabletown'.
Remember, these aren't just characters from movies and television shows, they're the people and creatures you've read about when you were little; so they include more than just humans. You've got dragons, orcs, talking animals, witches, fairies, ogres, and the likes. Those who can't blend with the human society (Dragons don't really go shopping in Wal-Mart, do they?) live in a farm near the city. Witches have apparently cast spells which keeps the mundy (that's us normal folk) away from the farm.
The Fabletown society is run by Mayor King Cole. Cole is fat and lazy and in reality Fabletown is run by deputy mayor Snow White. The other character that can definitely pull some heart strings is the town's sheriff, Big Bad Wolf. He has taken on a human appearance but can change to wolf form at will and goes by the name 'Bigby'. He's the detective/sheriff and unofficial badass of Fabletown; with his wolf's senses he's almost like Wolverine. Another character who's very interesting is Prince Charming. The stories we've read always had the one hero, Prince Charming, so it's safe to assume he is just one man; and one man among that many of his ex-wives isn't a great thing. He is hated and despised but turns out to be the one people hate to love. The more famous and read about a fable is, the less chances he, she or it has of dying. Thus, most of them go on living for centuries at a stretch.
The main goal of the fables is to take back their homelands and the comic series is slowly working towards that. In between are lots of spin offs and fun side stories, where the writer explores different aspects of each and every character. Examples would include volumes on Bigby as a war hero in World War II or Jack (the one who climbed the beanstalk) who, with his wit and mischief, makes money by making a film about himself. Some more examples would include the stories about Prince Charming and his exploits with girls from our world or the part where the inhabitants of the farm take over in a George Orwell like 'Animal Farm' fashion. There are so many other events that take place which will really entertain any reader but due to the spoilers to the main plot, they will not be mentioned. The best bit is how Bill Willingham manages to not only create completely flabbergasting stories with old fairy tale characters, but how he manages to also dissect and play with every detail of their persona, making the readers hate some of them and love the others.
It's really a brilliant read and as mentioned before, it's ongoing. Now that you've read the review, go get the comic.
The internet is a mysterious place. One minute you are looking up ways to solve the two degree linear differential equation and the next moment you are laughing your bottom off at the fan-made The Dark Knight Rises trailer. As luck would have it, this reporter also stumbled upon some pretty funny YouTuve stuff in Bangla. Most of the Bangladeshi stuff are parodies, or direct extracts from our infamous films. Most of them are R-rated as well.
Waka Waka in Bangla: Among all the song parodies, this one deserves a very, very special mention. The singer expresses his deep regret at being away from his country in the verses. “Eka eka lage re”, sung to the tune of Shakira's more famous number, brings out longing only to a bare minimum. Listen to the whole song and you will understand what a gem this song is.
Ilias Kanchon bleeds for Julekha: Seriously. This is where Ilias Kanchon rips through his shirt and flesh and uses his arteries as a hosepipe to put out the fire on Julekha's robe. Chuck Norris got nothing on Ilias Kanchon. Then there is the one where Shakib Khan graduates in Textile Engineering from BUET (which is funny, because BUET doesn't have that department), the one where he is 'attacked' viciously by the heroine of his movie and the one where his partner sings her ecstasy having managed to make him her boyfriend, etc.
Sir Western Milon: Sir Western Milon is one classy thing, with his shaggy hair and his guitar and unique songs. Check out his “guitar haatey” and other numbers.
Other song parodies: The 'waka waka' link should guide you to this. The Indian song called 'teri meri' has a pretty nice Bangla version. So does Celine Dion's “My heart will go on”. There are some disturbing-looking dance sequences in some of the parodies, so proceed with caution. You can also check out the 'koka kola' song from an Indian Bangla film. That is pretty funny as well.
There are other Bangla stuffs. But most of them can't be mentioned here for their strong content. Watch some cats falling asleep, why don't you?
Available on: XBOX 360, PS3, PC
By Sadia Islam
War is good for one thing and one thing only. For video games. That's where it excels. Given only three days of playtime to review, this wasn't going to be easy. Firstly it's because playing in this place is a battle. There's a one-year old kid that wants to hog the PC. Every time. So it's a lot like piloting a military hummer across mine-strewn terrain. So the ambience is already set.
Battlefield 3 comes with a single player campaign, co-op and multiplayer, listed in the ascending order of awesomeness. The campaign is a short conflict with a decent storyline. Decent is the keyword. Linear is more like it. And these days linear doesn't quite cut it. There are quick-time events aplenty where cut scenes require you to mash certain buttons or the outcome will be messy. But like I said, that just adds to the linearity. Unlike the previous instalments, this does not let you freely go about your mission being a badass. Maybe that's why it's no longer called Bad Company. The multiplayer and the co-op is where this game's at. The latter has only 6 missions that leave you aching for more. Okay so I only worked through one but I know six isn't enough.
The good: Amazing visuals. I'm told it's a new graphics engine called Frostbite 2.0. All I know is the lighting is amazing even on a not-so-high speed PC. Environments are fully destructible. In multiplayer this comes to great use when blowing things up uncovers hidden enemies and crouching foes or simply opens up a new path to go through. And there are tons of vehicles to pilot. Cars, trucks, planes, boat buggies, choppers. Each of the vehicles are good for a particular terrain or mission. Choose wisely.
The bad: Linear campaign. Also the promise of the aforementioned vehicles is limited. You jump into a jet, you're the gunner, not Tom Cruise. And you can't really fly the jet except for one co-op mission and in multiplayer.
The verdict: AI is usually pretty reckless in the campaign. You run through firing and shooting and winning often more by luck than anything else. But get into any multiplayer mode or hook up with a buddy, this is a game you keep wanting to get back to. The enemy is competent enough to give you a thorough challenge. The gameplay is stellar. Pop off headshots or go up close and knife your enemy. Or simply blow them away from a jet. Or grenade them. This will bring out your inner monster. And for me, it's strangely relaxing. Now I need to stop writing a review and figure out how to play this game online on my laggy internet.
RS rating: 4.5 stars outta 5