Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

Or, Nogizaka Haruka's Secret.

Ayase Yuuto (appears to) share his house with two older women whom he identifies as Ruko (his sister) and Sensei (Yukari, one of his teachers and a friend of Ruko's). Both women are loud, demanding and often drunk. They've given Yuuto a negative image of females, whom he thinks are all selfish, violent and ill-mannered. All of them except for Nogizaka Haruka, a girl at his high school. Known by the student body as Nuit Etoile (The Silver Star of the Night), Haruka plays the piano, is beautiful, intelligent, humble, and rich. But Haruka has a deep dark secret that she doesn't want anyone to know about - she's a closet Otaku and a Clumsy Girl Aki-Chan addict (a popular anime show).

So desperate is she to hide this secret that when she bumps into Yuuto in the library while checking out an anime magazine called Innocent Smile, she nearly destroys the entire library to keep him from seeing the book. He manages to find out anyway (she seems to be as clumsy as the character in the show she loves), and she runs away in embarrassment. From then on she avoids him at school, and runs away (in more embarrassment) any time she bumps into him...which seems to happen often. It's super cute.

Yuuto tries to confront her, but it's perceived by their classmates that he's trying to harass her somehow. So it takes quite a bit of work for him to get to her alone. He promises that he won't tell anyone her secret, and says that he's not bothered by it at all. She seems to be ashamed of her hobby, but he assure her that he thinks it makes her more interesting. This surprises Haruka, but it also makes her very happy. As the lone person who is "in" on her secret, it's up to him to help her out. And it's not long before she calls on him (seriously it's later that same day). It seems the book she checked out will be overdue the next day, and she doesn't want her name announced at school in the morning, so she asks Yuuto to help her sneak into the school to return it. I'm sure it's not hard to imagine where that leads.

Ah, get your minds out of the gutter! She just makes a lot of cute little "I'm scared of every little thing in the dark" faces as she clings to Yuuto's arm. And a budding friendship is formed that will probably lead to a budding romance.

While the show may be about a female otaku, it's definitely geared towards male otaku, as it's loaded with fan service from the very beginning of the show. The opener quickly flashes plenty of fan service shots as well, though the song is forgettable. The end theme has even more service as a bunch of the characters dance around in maid uniforms (or maybe they ARE maids, Haruka's maids, though I'm not sure).

The show is definitely cute. It feels like Clannad, AIR, and Tokimeki mixed together. It's probably just a generic high school romantic comedy kind of show, but it's well animated, and the characters are really adorable. That's Yuuto and Haruka in the above image.


Good to Bad

Let's start with the good news. Gambit is finally going to appear in an X-Men movie. Specifically X-Men Origins: Wolverine. From the mouth of Hugh Jackman, the clawed mutant himself. It's this fellow right here, named Taylor Kitsch. I've never seen anything he's been in, so I can't tell if he'll be good in the role or not. He's pretty enough, though. Though I have to say that they get some really horrible actors for these X-Men movies.... They get some great ones too (Ian McKellin, Kelsey Grammer), but they're drowned in a sea of bad acting.

Now for some maybe news. As in maybe it's good, maybe it's horrid. Hollywood (the horrid part) is making a live action Cowboy Bebop (the possibly good part). I've always thought the show would translate well into a live action version, but I'm not so sure that I want Hollywood to touch something I hold so dear.
As terrified as I am, I do have some casting suggestions. Though to be honest, a lot of the people I think would be perfect in the roles (acting and image wise) are too old. :(

Spike - Jet Lee (stretching the age there), James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, Wanted)
Faye - Milla Jovovich (Fifth Element, Resident Evil), Anne Hathaway (Get Smart, Becoming Jane)
Ed - Dakota Fanning (Uptown Girls, Charlotte's Web), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Julia - Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, The Other Boleyn Girl), Claire Danes (Stardust, Romeo + Juliet)

Can't think of anyone for Jet or Vicious right off the top of my head. Edward Norton would make a good Vicious, I think, but that's pushing the age again. And Hugh Jackman would make a good Spike, but for the same reason.

And now, get ready to die a little inside.
MTV is going to remake The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I've seen next to zero positive response to this, and I'll certainly add my own anger, frustration and disdain. It's impossible to recreate Rocky Horror. I honestly don't think it can be done. And I also think they should stay the hell away from it. I don't care if they're using the original script and songs; that just makes it worse, in my opinion. It's like saying "the original wasn't good enough, so let's redo it." Fuck. That. MTV and Fox, stay the hell away from my Rocky Horror! Maybe the fan outcry will be so bad that they'll change their mind. I can only hope.

Oh and by the way, Disney is making a sequel to Tron. I wish Hollywood could leave good things alone.


E3 - Afterthoughts

Just wanted to point to Kotaku again really quickly. Their excellent E3 coverage helped me out a lot. If I fell behind while watching a conference, a quick live blog check got me back on track (or filled in what I missed). They also helped me put some names to some faces, since the only people I really recognized were Reggie, Peter Molyneux, and Will Wright. And of course a scan of their live blogs of the conferences not televised let me sum up the other announced titles.

Is E3 dead? I don't think so. I'm sure there will be one next year at least, even if it's as bad as this year's. But I don't think it will continue on after that if they don't change things next time.

E3 used to be held in May, not July, when most companies had not yet announced the games for the upcoming holiday season. By July, most of that news is out. This leads to almost no E3 surprises. The biggest and most talked about "reveal" of the week was the addition of FFXIII for the 360. This is a game everyone already knows about, has seen the trailer for, but is now going to be on 2 consoles instead of 1. It's a little sad that that's the biggest surprise of the week.

You could also say that Microsoft's reveal of the new 360 dashboard was a big event, unless you were actually watching the event, and noticed the pause of silence after the announcement before some awkward applause. Which I suppose could be credited to live bloggers, but I prefer the lackluster announcement approach.

Nearly every game there was a game that the public already knew about. It's great that there were so many demos, which is a plus for having the convention a little later in the year, but there's just not much that's new.

And then there were the casual games; mounds and mounds of casual games. Everyone from Microsoft to Ubisoft drowned us in them. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto himself said that E3 will no longer be an event where they will announce "core" games. Maybe he misunderstands the people who actually pay attention to E3. We're the people who are more likely to pick up your next Zelda game than Wii Music. We want Prince of Persia, not Imagine Fashion Designer. The average "casual gamer" isn't going to pay attention to E3, so why is E3 catering to them instead of the rest of us? Unless CNN and Fox News are going to do big E3 news briefings, or local news channels do E3 specials, they probably won't even know there even was an E3. My mother has a DS, PSP and Wii, and I guarantee you the only reason she even knows E3 exists is because I had an opportunity to go a few years ago and she offered to fly me there. She'd never heard of it prior, and she probably doesn't remember about it now. And yet the whole conference (no offense mom) was aimed at people like her. Ubisoft, who brought us amazing games like Assassin's Creed, devoted at least half of their conference to games geared toward 13 year old girls. Even Microsoft, with their new dashboard complete with Mii60s, hit the casual gamer. G4's Morgan Webb and I can agree on at least one thing - the avatars bite.

So where can E3 go from here? It can go away, and I don't think many people would miss it. Especially since we still have TGS, E for All and PAX. It could be replaced with individual, private company conferences. Or they could work together and find a happy medium between the E3 of the past and the E3 of today. They complain when there's too much of a spectacle ("It's too expensive!"), and they complain when there's hardly any ("No one came!"), so maybe they can find a mix that will please everyone. The future of the ESA intertwines with this of course. Some companies have bailed from the organization (and consequently E3...sort of). Many have complained that the current president is not properly representing the industry (like how it did absolutely nothing when Fox News attacked Mass Effect (a perfect opportunity), though the actual gamers seemed to take care of it themselves). There is more than enough speculation on sites like Kotaku and Game Politics, as well as from people like the CEO of EA.

So I'll leave you with some amusingly accurate portrayals of this year's E3:
Penny Arcade - It's Just Like Being There
VGCats - Waiting
Joystiq - E3, then and now (if you want to cry a little inside)

Oh and again, sorry for the lack of anime previews. I'm uh...a little busy (finally) playing Assassin's Creed. But I'll get right on them, I (kinda) promise.