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Anime Review


By Le Chupacabra

Spiky blonde hair, a red coat and a trail of destruction... It can only mean one man - Vash the Stampede (how aptly named...)! Yet how could this clumsy, donut-loving fool be the legendary outlaw dubbed "The Humanoid Typhoon"? Regardless, it's upto insurance agents Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson to make sure he doesn't destroy what's left of the sandy, barren planet they live on…

It's not the best, but Trigun is definitely solid stuff. It wonderfully segues together action, drama and of course, comedy. By the end, you'll have gone on an enjoyable experience that'll leave you extremely satisfied and appreciative of the medium known as 'anime'.

Trigun is a deep foray into the mindset of one Vash the Stampede. He's the star of the show, and each of the 26 episodes is there to reinforce him as a character to remember. Vash is quite a wierd one, too. For someone possessing such brilliant shooting skills and having been known as a legendary outlaw, most of the time he hardly seems the part. Vash is a complete pacifist who always looks to resolve a situation without anyone dying. He has one of those "saving-people-things" you read about in books (by books, I mean Harry Potter). Sometimes an emotional wreck bursting into tears, Vash will have you scratching your head for quite some time as you try figure out why he does what he does.

That leads us to the story itself. Trigun is set in what is probably a perfectly alternate 'Spaghetti Western universe'. Before you scream "Cowboy Bebop", you should know that Trigun shares very little with Shinchiro Watanabe's opus. Saloon brawls, quick draw duels and Mexican standoffs are all juxtaposed with advanced "lost" technology and a world born of creativity and freshness. The series is chockful of classic action scenarios and plenty of hilarious moments. These only complement the deeply philosophical tones that are omnipresent. Yet despite the constant issues of moral ethics and questions about the concept of 'life', none of it becomes overbearing or preachy. This makes the Trigun experience extremely easy to get into and enjoy, regardless of your way of thinking.

Trigun has an interesting art style that goes with the whole "western in outer space" theme very well indeed. While I think Naruto has the best character designs, Trigun maintains a stylish look that you won't forget easily. The music usually takes a backseat to the drama and everything, but somehow its faint presence makes all the difference and really helps create a great atmosphere.

If there's anything wrong with Trigun, it's just that they concentrate too much on the main character. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but given such an interesting world, it feels like a missed opportunity. Most characters are just simple and somewhat two-dimensional. They're likeable, but there's nothing, you know, extraordinary about them. It's true that Nicholas D. Wolfwood gets some good screentime as does Vash's brother, Knives, but it's still nothing compared to the Humanoid Typhoon. There are quite a few filler episodes that often deviate from the main story and train of thought.

In the end, Trigun is a a great introduction to the world of anime. A great mixture of action, drama, comedy and philosophy, Trigun is definitely quality entertainment.

Review by Gokhra

‘Wedding Crashers' is a riotous new comedy with huge doses of fun. It's about two friends John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Klein (Vince Vaughn). They are divorce mediators and untamed bachelors who spend their weekends combing the wedding circuit of the nation's capital. Is it cause they get mushy about weddings? Nope, this is their angle on looking for women. Their strategy was inherited some years ago from a great wedding-crashing guru. It consists of showing up at an event dashingly attired and prepared with a well-researched back story that loosely connects them to the bride or groom.

They come fully armed with fake sob stories to crash weddings to pick up the ladies and pick up the party. John and Jeremy might fake tears during the ceremony and get rip-roaring yet engagingly drunk at the reception while expertly zeroing in on the unsuspecting lady. Amid all this, they charm fellow guests with inane toasts or, for the kids, balloon-animal tricks.

After crashing Jewish, Italian, Irish, Chinese and Hindu nuptials, Jeremy and John go for the gold: the blueblood wedding of Treasury Secretary William Cleary's (Christopher Walken) daughter.

Jeremy goes after Cleary's sweet and naive daughter Gloria (Isla Fisher), who ends up being neither sweet nor naïve. She is according to Jeremy a "Stage 5 Clinger". Becoming infatuated with him she just won't let go. Gloria invites the guys back to the Cleary compound for the weekend. Of course, this is where the movie pretty much peaks and a bit early I might add. John goes against his partying bachelor ideals and falls hard for Claire (brand new star Rachel McAdams). She's Senators Clearys middle daughter and happens to be a down-to-earth, do-gooding character who just happens to be dating an athletic, arrogant Ivy Leaguer, named Sack. Yep, hat's sack and not Zack Black or anything else but. That goes to show what's on his mind doesn't it?

After his tryst, Jeremy wants to flee the premises. But John wants to pursue Claire, a flagrant violation of the wedding-crasher code. Claire provides a lovely reason for a man to forsake rakishness. Nonetheless, when Claire, Gloria, and Senator Cleary invite John and Jeremy to weekend at their enormous Maryland estate, they comply. A lot of raunchiness follows.

Beneath the movie's freewheeling vulgarity, there's real heart and a tale of personal growth. John must win Claire from her fiance, not to conquer but to love her.

The comedy has good timing though some of the spectacles run the risk of crossing too far into farce for example the parts where Clearys' gay art-freak son is involved. Wilson and Vaughn are their usual selves, only more so. Wilson is typically unflappable, but he shows rare traces of actual feeling. And there's rock 'n' roll in Vaughn's rat-a-tat sarcasm. They skillfully play the role of two men who need to slow down and grow up. The laughs come quick and easily making this a good entertainer.

Nobody reading this piece probably needs an introduction to Black. Arguably the most popular band in Bangladesh now, Black's creative compositions, unique style and electrifying live performances catapulted them from underground obscurity to superstardom. But just when the future was looking bright and the fans were expecting even greater stuff from them, fate intervened. On the night of April 20 this year, on their way back to Dhaka from Chittagong, Black suffered the most terrible accident of their lives. The accident caused the death of reputed sound engineer and band musician Imran Ahmed Mobin, as well as severe injuries to Black's bassist Meraj and drummer Tony.

They say time heals all wounds. But how far has it healed the wounds of our beloved musicians? Recently, we at the RS had the privilege of having a chat with them. So here's the story of their harrowing experience, and their struggle to live beyond it, from their own mouths.

Tell us about the accident.
Jahan: We were in a hurry that night as two of us had exams the next day and Mobin bhai had to face the embassy again. The organisers couldn't arrange a good car for us and the driver was also careless. He was probably drowsing on the wheels, when all of a sudden, we crashed. It was a terrible accident something which was so sudden and unexpected for us that we could neither believe nor comprehend what was happening around us.

How were you all physically affected?
Jahan: Apart from Mobin bhai, a friend of ours, Tanim, was also accompanying us. He was thrown out of the car and suffered injuries to his chest, left arm and the left side of his face. Tahsan, Jon and I escaped with minor injuries. Tony suffered serious injuries to the elbows of both hands and his left toe. But Meraj was the one most severely injured among us. He suffered severe injuries to the left side of his body, including multiple fractures to his left arm, elbow, ring finger, little finger and the left femur.

So, how far have you recovered?
Tony: Jon, Jahan and Tahsan have no physical problems now. As for me, I'm pretty irregular with my physiotherapy. So, it might take some time before I fully recover. But I'm confident once I'm back on the drums, I'll be all right.

How is Meraj doing now?
Meraj: After the accident, I was admitted to Pangu Hospital in an unconscious state. But after receiving primary medical aid there, I was moved to Eden Multicare Hospital, where I stayed for about ten days. Then, on April 29, my parents took me to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. There I underwent surgeries on my left arm, left femur and knee. But my femur had broken into more than 25 pieces. In order to heal it, I'll have to undergo a complicated surgical procedure known as bone grafting. I'll be going to Singapore very soon for the operation and I request everyone to pray for me.

How did you cope with the tragic demise of Imran Ahmed Mobin after the incident?
Jon: I don't know if we can ever cope with it. But we're trying to forget everything by keeping ourselves busy, whether it's studies or hanging out. For example, we've decided to do concerts again. Those things keep coming back in flashes to haunt you. So, I guess we should just hope to keep going.

How does Black plan to move ahead without Meraj?
Jahan: As Jon said, we've decided to do concerts again for now. Suman bhai (from Aurthohin) will be playing in Meraj's place. Our first concert is on September 4 in Chittagong, where we last went to perform. And now, we're starting from there. As for our album, we have recently started working on it again. But we'll wait for Meraj to recover and do his part. So, it might be some time before it's released. And when Meraj recovers, Black plans to start all over again with a blast.

Are you associated with any sort of charity?
Tony: Just a few days ago, one of our sound crew, Bozlu had an accident on his way to Sylhet. It was almost similar to our accident and his legs were seriously affected. One of his legs had to be amputated later, while the other leg is at a risk of the same fate. He's currently admitted to the Pangu Hospital, while his family is unable to bear the cost of his treatment. So, on behalf of Black, I'm trying to raise money for him. Apart from that, we also tried to help, as much as we could, Hridoy (a student of BUET suffering from leukaemia).

One thing that needs mentioning here is that Meraj's treatment is also very expensive. His family cannot bear all the expenses of his treatment by themselves. So, in order to raise money for his treatment, we've arranged a concert at the Women's Complex on September 16. We urge our fans to come forward and support us for this noble cause.

Is there anyone you would like to thank for their support?
Jon: Black would like to thank Khalid bhai from G Series, Sumon bhai of Aurthohin, Grameen Phone, AmaderGaan.com, Tahsan's parents and especially our fans. This accident has made us realise how much they really care.

Thank you for your time. We hope that you will be back once again and fulfil all your dreams.
Jon: You're welcome. And finally a word of advice for our fans: please, please drive carefully.

After this interview was conducted, Meraj flew to Singapore where he underwent a major knee operation. We are pleased to report that he is doing better than before.

Site Unseen

By Niloy

Sorry for the not being regular recently, folks. It's just that I tried getting up from the computer for a while and having a life. But I guess this life thingy just doesn't suit me. Anyway the links below are also available in niloywrites.blogspot.com for your convenience. And those who are interested in comics might want to keep an eye on my other site BDcomics.blogspot.com. It's growing and now it gets an impressive amount of 250 visitors a day.
MODIS Rapid Response System:
Satellite Image Gallery
Care to see the world the way our alien overlords do? Google Earth is great, but I've fallen in love with the MODIS Rapid Response System. These ultra high resolution satellite images of dust storms in Iraq, phytoplankton blooms in the Barents Sea, and even a school fire in Washington are breathtaking and make excellent desktop wallpapers and screensaver images. The gallery goes back as far as 2001, which means there are plenty of awesome images to be dug up. I've collected almost 30 spectacular views for wallpaper already. Check out some of these: Hurricane Katrina over Florida [doiop.com/KatrinaFL], Phytoplankton bloom in the Barents Sea
[doiop.com/WeirdSeaThingy], School Fire in Washington [doiop.com/BurnTheKids] and Ship tracks off the western US [doiop.com/ShipTracks]
Flickr: Explore
Flickr junkies rejoice! Everybody's favourite new photo sharing site unveils a super cool feature: Interestingness. In other words, Flickr now ranks their photos by coolness. So instead of trolling through five thousand tagged photos (e.g. "New York"), you get only the primo stuff. Just gaze in awe at the most interesting photos submitted over the past 24 hours: [doiop.com/Flickr24]
Check out the Generation E magazine
This is quite an interesting online magazine for the teens in Dhaka. I've reviewed it and probably the review is in this very issue of RS. Still it's worth another mention. And if you don't see the review, then go on and check this out. The magazine is a 3 Mb PDF file.
Must download:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Audiobooks
This is awesome stuff. It's so good that I'd ask you to download them even if you use a sluggish 3 kbps dial-up (like me). Not really the traditional audiobook: it's more like an audio-movie. It's 140 MB in total, and will give you 6 hours of greatness.
AJ Screensaver:
14 Ways to Display the Time
The AJ Screensaver is for those of us that are obsessed with the time. It offers 14 separate ways to display the time, including some pretty funky ones. My favourite is the handwritten digital clock, and the timeline clock, but there are many others to suit your tastes. To get an idea of what this package of screensavers offers, check out the download page where demos of the Flash clocks are running.
Collection of Prank Software
This site is for the mischievous folks. Website Random Good Stuff has put together a collection of links to download software for the purpose of pulling pranks on people and annoying them. From programs that make it appear that files and software are being removed from the system, to ones that make it impossible to click on the Start button, and even one that will make a computer randomly burp, almost everything you could imagine to annoy the heck out of someone is here.
Age of Empires 3 demo
Microsoft has finally released the demo of the upcoming sequel to the Age of Empires series. You'll need a decent graphics card if you want to turn the settings up and if you've got an 'Ol Shitty PC' (as the developers, like this [doiop.com/OldShittyPC] one talking about the game, so eloquently put it), then either get a new GPU or don't worry about not seeing individual bricks flying over your head when you blow up the last house in a village. Oh, and check out Penny-Arcade.com's take on the game: [doiop.com/HomeCity].
Never post your picture in the internet
Especially if you look weird in photos. Here's why.
GTA: Liberty City Stories Site, Trailer Live
Rockstar has replaced the Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories teaser site with a full-fledged website, offering information, screenshots and the first trailer of what's soon going to be the only PSP game worth playing. The trailer runs a bit over a minute and features in-game footage, mostly (funny) dialog; the site is also home to the first online screenshots for the game. [from BDgamer.net]
The photo with this Sites Unseen is taken by Thomas Hawk, [doiop.com/ThomasHawk], and has been used under the following Creative Commons licence: [doiop.com/CreativeCommons].

You can contact me at niloy.me@gmail.com



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