BERSERK GOLDEN AGE
By Ero Senin
Which is the best manga (Japanese comics) ever- this a hotly debated question, much like who is better richer, Batman or Ironman, or who would win, Superman or Hulk, in the manga-reading fandom. But any avid reader would probably pass their judgement in favour of Berserk, by Kentaru Miura, because it probably is the best manga ever- for storytelling, art, action and everything else that makes a great manga. It has been animated before, quite a long time ago, and it is safe to assume that it did not do justice on the vastness of its setting. So for a few years, animators at Studio 4°C have been working on a project to make the great series into a string of animated films.
The first of many of the greatest story arcs in Berserk was The Golden Age saga. It set the tune of the whole franchise. We begin by meeting Guts, the headstrong swordsman for hire with a huge black sword on his back, destroying enemy soldiers at will and without any visible effort. This wrath-clad figure of brutish strength encounters a man called Griffith and is forcefully enlisted in his mercenary army after losing a duel. Griffith, the charismatic man with very feminine looks, has a dream of an ideal world, and he entices his men with it. Guts follows suit, doing all the dirty deeds for his friend, or at least he thinks he is.
The strength of Berserk is its characters. The movie essentially captures the essence of it: with the relation between Guts and Griffith emphasised heavily. This truly is the driving force behind the whole series, so it was pretty important to get it right. Their nature and ambitions are made pretty clear through their interactions: conversations and fighting huge monsters together. But since this is to be a trilogy, the sense of “finality” is understandably not present.
The animation work is really eye-catching. At times, the computer generated animation does seem a bit overused though, and may just annoy some viewers who enjoy more subtlety in animations.
The characters are animated very well, and at times the practical/computer animated hybrid makes them seem almost lifelike. But the best thing about the movie was the music. The original score by Shiro Sagusa in the opening song Aria leaves one rewinding it over and over again, that's how super it was.
Berserk is a manga with a very dark and mature theme. So in no circumstances it should be recommended to younger viewers and/or to someone who can't handle the blood and gore, and trust me, there's a lot of it. This first film is almost tame compared to the stuff that's going to follow soon.
So, is it a good enough movie? Yes, quite. Compared to the rest of the stuff that are being aired for the past couple of seasons, this movie can even be termed a class act. Of course, anime these days are barely even worth a mention, sorry to say.
Other similar anime/manga you might like: Zetman, Vinland Saga.
NEIL DIAMOND TRIBUTE
We seldom find artists that have as much of a partisan following as Neil Diamond. Justin Bieber comes to mind as someone who has as many haters as he has fans, but in the case of Neil Diamond haters and fans alike acknowledge (somewhat grudgingly in the case of the haters) that Neil Diamond is someone with undeniable talent. You don't get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without talent. And this week we pay a tribute to one of the defining musicians (whether we like it or not) of the 20th century and beyond.
If you are a Neil Diamond fan, you will probably be celebrating his birthday by running down some of his timeless classics while others might be sharing Facebook pictures of his unsightly sideburns with sarcastic headings. It puzzled us to see such divide and we took the time to ask some people about this. Many we asked had no idea who Neil Diamond was in the first place and so we played some songs for them and they all gave their stamp of approval to them ('Sweet Caroline' and 'Forever In Blue Jeans' seemed to be favourites). After that, we showed the curious listeners a picture of him performing and that's when things started to go downhill. And fast. Several questions were raised, not least of which for his fashion sense. And admittedly, even we were stumped when faced with questions like 'Why the hell is he so shiny?'
As you might have guessed already it's not so much the music as the person on stage that people love to poke fun at. And even the most seasoned of Diamond fans will admit that his eccentric fashion sense is not the best. But hey, talent should always be given a handicap for the weird, that's a consequence of the brilliance, unhappy or otherwise. One fan even went so far as to suggest that he made men feel 'insecure'. Hmm, not too sure about that.
Away from all the weird debates, it's always a shame when good music goes unappreciated despite his love for the flashy and tacky sometimes. And on his birthday, we at RS ask you to give his songs a listen. Who knows, you might end up actually liking them. And if you do think he'll make you feel 'insecure', skip out on the pictures et all. For now, we say Happy birthday to a long standing great, whose music has inspired so many over the years for so long.
Neil Diamond has worked in several genres and some of his best songs that you should listen to are:
1) Cracklin' Rose
3) Done Too Soon
THE LEGEND OF WENGER
By Osama Rahman
Football managers have it hard. One season every team in the world is chasing their signature and the next season they are standing in the unemployment line, buying fancy cars and houses off their pension money. It's quite sad. But not all managers have to fear player revolt, barren runs and the axe that follows absolutely no progress. Some managers are just great, all the time, regardless of everything they have repeatedly failed to win.
We are not talking about Roy Hodgson. Rather, we are talking about a coach in direct contrast to the English gaffer. This discussion is on Monsieur Arsene Wenger. Any Gunner fan will tell you that Arsene is hugely underrated. The allegation is that the football universe does not show the man the amount of respect he deserves and does not place him in the pantheons of greats where the wily French rightfully belongs. Arsene Wenger is great, they tell you and then go on to provide compelling reasons for their belief.
Arsene is said to be a man of vision, who first introduced English football fans to his attacking style of high octane play. Arsenal became exciting over-night and this man then went further by using computers to track player stats where his contemporary, Harry Redknapp, did not and does not still know how to write words or use a computer. Arsene Wenger's philosophy and even dietary changes led to immediate results. Three English Premier League titles and four FA Cups in 16 years is a massive achievement. Plus, there was that one time when they went undefeated and hence sealed Arsene's legacy. Only a massive team with a massive future can achieve such a feat; the only team to have done so apart from the Gunners was Preston North End and they are the second greatest team in the world. Right?
Overlooking a 6 year trophy drought, it's prudent to say that Arsene will never be held ransom to money. He's like a country that refuses to negotiate with terrorists. He is stubborn and righteous. Thus, since 1997, he has spent less money than Liverpool, Chelsea, United and even Tottenham.
This shows that Arsene isn't the miser everyone makes him out to be. He does buy players, just not the very expensive ones. Imagine what a 30 million dollar flop would do to a man whose entire reputation is based on his scouting abilities, more than anything else. In a decade Arsene has spent 47 million net and that's more than 400 million less than Chelsea and guess who came 6th? Champion's League success is irrelevant at this point.
Arsene is Arsenal's saviour and always has been. Robin Van Persie, Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Flamini, Hleb and Cole can all go elsewhere and win trophies, but that does not make Arsenal any weaker. Despite Arsene's refusal to loosen his purse, he continues to finish in the top four. He wins nothing, but he ensures Champion's League knock-outs every year and that has to account for something. Wenger is also a charismatic talker and he always talks himself out of situations. Arsenal has never lost a single match in the history of the world without the means of foul play. Ask any Gooner.
At 62, Arsene has already won everything there is to win. Except for the Champion's League, the World Cup, the European Cup, UEFA Cup or Community Shield. But he did win the J-League Super Cup and lord knows how hard the Japanese Super League is. And in conclusion, did we mention his scouting ability and revolutionary attacking football style where there are loads of goals and no victories? It's just been 2013, wait till 2050. Arsene is a man preparing for the future and not worrying about the present. It's a shame he probably won't be there to see tomorrow's success.
THE APPLE VIRUS
By Ero Senin
(Owner of an iPad 2.0 and currently drooling
over his friend's iPad 4)
The thing about Apple inc. is not that they make over-priced stuff; it's that they make people want to have them. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. iPhone 5 looks cool and the only
reason you resent it is because either
a. You can't afford it,
b. You already have an iPhone and don't have
good enough reason to convince your parents
to buy you the newer version. You can't
just...throw an iPhone away.
Now. On January 22, 1984 the first Macintosh went on sale. Why is that information relevant? I don't know, but I suppose that was a great moment for PCs. But Apple Inc truly started dominating the market with Mac OS X and the later apple products in iPod, iPhone and iPad.
iDon't need to tell you that.
So what happens when you have a slightly older model of an Apple product and the newer version comes out looking all taller and stuff and retina display and costlier and you have a friend who owns one and rubs it in your face and after using that one for 10 whole minutes, you suddenly don't feel like touching your old one ever again and then you start feeling all gloomy and whiny and start posting how Apple sucks and what not?
You see, people don't have problems with the Apple products. They just hate the people that use them. They are usually the ones who would let you know that they have one for goodness's sake. And amidst the pool of envy crusted disgust, some genuine users have to bear all the negative waves.
But still, congratulations to Apple though. I just hope they make things cheaper.