retro

SEGA THIRSTday Retrotainment by Aisha Anime

Hoxton Pony Venue

Hoxton Pony Venue

*UPDATE* REZtron continue to do Saturday events in Clapham. Check their website for more information. Event review here. ~Aisha Anime~

REZtron is back after 4 months at the Hoxton pony (104-108 Curtain Road) in the heart of East London on Thursday, 19 February 2015 from 17:00 to 22:00 (GMT)

FREE ENTRY!! Just register online: 

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sega-thirstday-retrotainment-tickets-15695995144

Legendary games include: Golden Axe,Rastan,Virtua Cop , House of The Dead 2,Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Space Harrier, After Burner, Hang-On,Virtua Tennis 2, TMNT,Sunset Riders,Street Fighter II,Marvel vs Capcom, Fighters Megamix,Fighting Vipers, Power Drift, SEGA Rally, Daytona,Out Run,Virtua Racing,Virtua Fighter 2 and many many more...

Displayed on RETRO Bang & Olufsen,Sony Trinitron,LG,Philips CRT TVs and large projector screens.Speed run competition on Sonic the Hedgehog (5pm-8pm) PRIZES!
3-D gaming (80s styley!)

  • There will be special drink offers and complimentary food (sponsored by Killer Tomato) until 9pm 
  • 80s/90s KARAOKE
  • DJ
  • Anime/Gaming Cosplayers are encouraged to attend
  • 8,16,32 and 128-BIT Japanese Retrotainment....

'Like' them on facebook or follow on twitter @theREZtron to keep up to date with all their retrogaming geekery! ~Aisha Anime~

Dragon Ball Part 1: Where is your tail? by Mark Egan

Hello and welcome back to yet another jaunt though memory lane, and this time we will visit a show that would be difficult for you not to recognise. Throughout the colourful storm of magical girls and giant robots piloted by unhinged teenagers, one particular franchise had managed during the 90’s to plant its flag firmly upon Mount ‘Default-Anime’, long before a certain Pocket-Monster based series had rooted itself into western pop culture. Speaking its name to anyone back then and even now will instantly bring forward mental images of certain spiky-haired individuals and extremely long & dramatic battles. I am of course talking about Dragon Ball Z.

I approach this series with a bit of trepidation, since I know that Aisha loves to Cos-play as Goku, and therefore she must be a Dragon Ball fan. Add this to fact that she’s an Anime girl, and as well all know Anime girls have access to “Mallet-Space”. Thus I must do a good job here, or she’ll probably hit me with a magically produced gigantic mallet or an oversized paper fan while calling me a ‘Baka’. This is an occupational hazard that my insurance simply doesn’t cover.

With that in mind, let’s grab a cloud and fly into this.

Tonight in the first part of this 3-part retrospective we will go back in time again to 1986 to have a look at the show that preceded Dragon Ball Z, and established a lot of its characters. This was, the original Dragon ball.

This is actually what people looked like in the 70's. However the flying clouds were only ever available in Japan...

This is actually what people looked like in the 70's. However the flying clouds were only ever available in Japan...

But before that, let’s go back even further, to 1979. If you are of a certain age (like me), you might remember way back into the early 80’s of another Japanese show that preceded the airing of Dragonball and most other anime. This was a live action comedy adventure named “Monkey”.  If you remember this show at all, it is thanks to a rather ‘interesting’ English dub that the BBC had created of it back in 1979. ‘Monkey’ was actually a re-title of a 1978 Japanese TV production of ‘Journey to the West’ (or ‘Saiyuki’ which was its actual title). For those who do not know, Journey to the West was a classic Chinese saga of an enlightened monkey named in the Japanese translation as Son Goku  (familiar name, isn’t it?). In the story this Son Goku journeyed west across China with his friends to find sacred texts, and ‘Monkey’ had followed this tale as well.

‘Monkey’ became a cult classic almost instantly In the UK, Japan, and indeed anywhere else it was shown at the time. No doubt this was noticed, and thanks to this newly created demand as well as the creative gears running around in Akira Toriyama’s head, a new manga & anime franchise was about to be born. Little did anyone realize that it would become the most popular series of its type ever made.

Dragonballs origin goes back even futher to another manga called 'Dragon Boy'

Dragonballs origin goes back even futher to another manga called 'Dragon Boy'

Toriyama took Journey to the West, adapted & renamed several of its characters and created a new story concept for a manga. The then renamed ‘Goku’ and his friends were no longer searching for scrolls across China, but were instead hunted out magical ‘Dragon balls’ on a semi-futuristic abstract Earth. Also his main companion was no longer a monk, but instead a blue-haired teenage girl named Bulma.

This was Dragon Ball, which began its life serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump at the end of 1984 and was very successful. So much so, that Toei Animation began production of a Dragon Ball anime a mere two years later in 1986.

I imagine that most people reading this are aware of Dragon Ball Z, and what that anime handled. Many would also be aware of the characters too, and the original ‘Dragon Ball’ was where a lot of them originated. However for the uninitiated, you should know that both shows depicted Goku and his friends questing to find the aforementioned dragonballs in order to have a wish fulfilled, all while facing a selection of foes and battling them with a combination super-powers & martial arts.

The Orignal Dragon Ball had however a charm to it that was unique to it, thanks in no small part to its two main leads:

Not to worry...it's not like he's part of an alien invasion plan...or anything like that...

Not to worry...it's not like he's part of an alien invasion plan...or anything like that...

First we had Goku who was introduced to the franchise as a small child, blissfully unaware of the world at large. He was very much the Goku that viewers would get to know so well years later in the Dragon Ball Z years, but not as burdened by the weight of the world as his older self would become. Blessed with mysterious super-strength and kind regard for others made him an idea hero of the show, while his youthful optimism became the perfect foil for the cynical teenage sidekick that he had soon encountered.

To be honest, there I moments when she looks like she might murder you in your sleep. This is one of those...

To be honest, there I moments when she looks like she might murder you in your sleep. This is one of those...

This teenager and our second lead, was Bulma, who some Dragon Ball Z fans might recognize as a supporting character in that show. In the original, Bulma was main cast and was somewhat responsible for the beginning of Goku’s adventure. She had originally set out to collect the dragon balls in order to wish herself a new boyfriend. Her attempts to extort Goku of a dragon ball he had inherited had made up much of the early story of the show, which ultimately led to the pair joining forces. Bulma often acted as the comic relief character, with situations usually involving her in suggestive situations, such as using her underwear as bait and occasional situations involving comic nudity. A lot of this was ultimately edited out of the western version of the show for various reasons. One rather infamous scene had Goku shooting the girl down when she offered to flash certain unmentionables of hers in exchange for his dragonball. Out of politeness, I won’t repeat what he said. Needless to say you won’t see that scene uncut on most networks. It was classic though….

Bulma also served as our guide to the world of Dragon Ball, which was a contrast between the Classical World and a bizarre Future-land where vehicles & whole buildings could be produced from pocket-sized capsules. Bulma’s exasperation at Goku’s lack of this knowledge just added further to the comedy of the show.

I wonder what would happen if you activated one of these while it was still in your pocket?

I wonder what would happen if you activated one of these while it was still in your pocket?

Beyond Goku & Bulma, most of the characters that would become well known in the later show were also introduced here, but if I went into all of them we might be here all night. Needless to say, Dragon Ball had an extensive ensemble cast which served it well throughout the run of the whole franchise.

She was alright with much of Goku's antics...until she found out that he was a teenager too...than she wasn't ok with it....at all...

She was alright with much of Goku's antics...until she found out that he was a teenager too...than she wasn't ok with it....at all...

But what could we say about about the show on the whole? Dragon Ball was fairly faithful to the spirit of Journey to the West in that it was very much about travelling out into the unknown to fulfill a quest. Each season of the show presented a new villain or threat in their way, which Goku would ultimately defeat (not really a spoiler…you already know that there’s a sequel.) All of the story arcs was spread out well and paced nicely, making Dragon Ball a very pleasant and enjoyable experience all round.

Needless to say both the Dragon Ball manga and anime went from strength to strength throughout the 80’s and in a rather novel move Goku had actually begun to slowly grow up over time, maturing as a character as time went by. By 1988, with Goku entering adulthood, a new chapter of the story was in the cards as well as a new title.

Dragon Ball came to a graceful end in early 1989, to make way for a new show a few weeks later by the name of “Dragon Ball Z”.

That is where I’ll leave you for now, and kindly ask you check back in a few weeks for the second part of this 3 part retrospective. Next time, please return for the legendary Dragon Ball Z.

Classy Bulma...real classy...just keep playing it smooth like this...

Classy Bulma...real classy...just keep playing it smooth like this...

Until then….where is your tail?

ne-ne ne-ne ne-ne ne-ne ne-ne NE-NE! by Mark Egan

Hello and welcome back to yet another Anime retrospective. Apologies with the massive delay in this new edition, but I was away getting married…if you could believe that such a thing was even possible…and the resulting months has had me trying to catch up on my webmanga-work. At very least, I can cannot complain of being bored!

By way of compensation, please join me back in time to heady days of the late 1980’s where neon was all glowy & futuristic and women wore massive shoulder pads for no reason at all…

Tonight’s retrospective is of the original Bubblegum Crisis.

When it came to science fiction in the 1980’s, there were often 2 two general trends that a story would follow. Either the action was set in space, or set upon a post-apocalyptic or over urbanized dystopian Earth. The likes of Blade Runner, Mad Max and The Terminator, dominated the feel of these particular themes.

Anime followed this trend as well, with the ‘post-apocalyptic’ genre well represented with the likes of Fist of the North Star and Violence Jack, but to name a few. By far the deepest explored sub-genre in this flavor of anime sci-fi was the ‘Over-urbanized Dystopia’. This tended to manifest as an unending ‘mega-city’, not too unlike the present-day’s megalopolis of Tokyo’s urban sprawl. One such mega city was Mega Tokyo, which is where tonight’s anime was set.

More Towers! More I tells ya!...I think there's more room down on the left there...put in another tower!! 

More Towers! More I tells ya!...I think there's more room down on the left there...put in another tower!! 

Mega Tokyo was a combination of several different things. First off, it was a Mega City, but it was also Post-Apocalyptic and managed the paint the picture of a world that had been wrecked, but still somehow functioned regardless the wreckage. I’m going to guess that this was a somewhat subtle reference to post-war Japan, which managed “Not Panic” and even “Carry On” despite being fire-bombed and nuked to bits.

"Did we install the "Good" Harddisk or the "Evil" Harddisk into this one?" "Pfft! I'm not paid enough to remember crap like that!"

"Did we install the "Good" Harddisk or the "Evil" Harddisk into this one?" "Pfft! I'm not paid enough to remember crap like that!"

However in the world of Mega-Tokyo all was not what it seemed (It never is…is it?). An evil mega-corporation named Genom (because you know, 80’s SciFi *always* needed to have “The Company”) who were responsible for building up Mega-Tokyo in the first place, have turned out to be…well…evil, and had mass produced a breed of crazy robots named Boomers. Thus these Boomers were wrecking havoc upon the city and the especially assigned ‘AD Police’ weren't really up to the task of policing them. Oh well...

In this environment of official uselessness, something needed to be done. Vigilantes were sorely short of supply in a city that had lacked a crusader who-was-caped, but in this void a new type of hero emerged in the form of The Knight Sabers.

In a nut-shell, the Knight Sabers were a collection of 4 women from different backgrounds who donned robotic ‘hard-suits’ in order to combat the boomer threat. Also Bubblegum Crisis was somewhat innovative when it came to how robot suits were illustrated. Before this show a robotic suit would typically be bulky & masculine and the likes of Iron Man would probably be the most slim-line robo-suit you would find. The Knight Sabers however were an early example of robotic suits having a distinctively feminine appearance to them. From the figure-hugging curves of the armor’s torso sections, to the ridiculous high-heels incorporated into the armor’s boots…the so called Hard Suits of the Knight Sabers all screamed “There is a girl inside this!!”

Of the Knight Sabers themselves, we had the following:

She's supposed to be 22....I kid you not!!

She's supposed to be 22....I kid you not!!

Sylia Stingray who was a wealthy young business woman, leader of the group and essentially this show’s Tony Stark. Sylia sort of made a business out of this whole vigilante gig and manages the Sabers’ operations under the front of her lingerie shop. She fulfilled the trope of the more mature girl and had a bit of a personal vendetta angle going on with the Boomers. She was decent enough in this role, but unfortunately not fleshed out as much as she was going to be, due in part to what happened to this show (I’ll explain later).

"Must...keep..head..up! Mullet-fringe...too.....heavy!!!"

"Must...keep..head..up! Mullet-fringe...too.....heavy!!!"

 

Next was Priss;  our all-rounder defiant warrior type. She would lead the girls in battle most of the time and sort of served as Sylia’s second in command. She was a fun character to follow and had some more developed relationships than the others. A biker girl first and foremost, she spend much of her civilian life as a rock singer, who’s music added to this show’s 80’s feel.

Sorry! They forgot to write a personality for me this week! Come back next week and I might even smile!!

Sorry! They forgot to write a personality for me this week! Come back next week and I might even smile!!

 

This was followed by Linna; an athletic wannabe dancer who used her agility as a weapon while in her Hard Suit. Linna alas was more 2-dimensional than the other girls, and there’s not much I can add beyond her being a warm, friendly team player. Not a bad character at all, but she really needed to be fleshed out .

 

 

 

Don't let her cutesy blank stare fool you. She has already hacked your thoughts!

Don't let her cutesy blank stare fool you. She has already hacked your thoughts!

Finally, my own favourite of the bunch; Nene! Yes, I’ve made this a bit of a habit, but for some reason I always like the cutesy spaz characters that fulfill Nene’s particular troupe. She was tones of fun, but not an idiot at all, and served as the Sabers’ hacker and computer expert…which made up for her relative lack of physical battle prowess. Of the 4 of them, she was actually a serving cop within the AD Police and also served as the Sabers’ mole there. Having Nene in the mix balanced out the group well I felt and the character herself had made me wanting to come back for more.

Beyond the girls, we had a cavalcade of supporting AD Police officers, evil Genom staff and various other cast members from the extensive tapestry of Mega Tokyo. I could go into each one, but we would be here forever. So instead, I would like to talk more about the actual *feel* of the show.

For the most part, Bubblegum Crisis takes its cues from Blade Runner as well as any number of Sci-fi cop shows and dramas. Plot-wise it never really goes too far beyond the Pale in this respect, with the exception of some very clever Boomer-related problems. However, what sets this show apart was the manner in which it is all put together. The animation was crisp and wonderfully illustrated, and the physics of the Sabers’ Hard Suits were very spot on. You could get the impression that the animators had gone to great pains in getting all of the details right.

With the addictive personalities of (some) of the characters in play, the one last ingredient of the show that had made it so good was the music. There was a considerable amount of hot-jazz and metal thrown into the show’s score which had made Bubblegum Crisis feel like a loving tribute to the decade that had birthed it. There was no denying that this was a show from the 1980’s, and any sitting of the introduction or exit credits would whisk anyone (of-a-certain-age) back to that decade seamlessly.

Alas all things come to an end, and unfortunately Bubblegum Crisis suffered an end that it didn’t deserve.

Well...you can't blame them for trying...

Well...you can't blame them for trying...

Only 8 of 13 OAV episodes were produced, due mostly to fighting between design studio ARTMIC and production company Youmex. The production came to a complete halt, until 1991 when ARTMIC decided to be cheeky and attempted to produce the final 5 episodes without Youmex. This proved to be a mistake however, when Youmex successfully sued ARTMIC into halting production again. Only 3 of the remaining 5 episodes were produced, which eventually became a short bundled feature called Bubblegum Crash. That however left us 2 episodes short of a show’s conclusion, which never came…

Bad blood continued between ARTMIC and Youmex, with legal action continuing right into the late 90’s when ARTMIC finally went bankrupt. Youmex also ended up disappearing, with the rights to Bubblegum Crisis passing on to AIC.

The Knight Sabers of BGC 2040...they're OK I guess...but it's just not the same alas. They even managed to screw up Nene!

The Knight Sabers of BGC 2040...they're OK I guess...but it's just not the same alas. They even managed to screw up Nene!

AIC didn't waste any time and went ahead to produce a new show named Bubblegum Crisis 2040. It was a faithful re-imagining of the original, but somehow it felt sterile and lacked the rich 80’s feel that had made the original so addictive. It had managed a respectable 26 episodes (2 unaired), before wrapping up.

Thus ended the saga of an 80’s themed sci-fi cop-show, with girls in shapely battle-suits.

If you want your nostalgia buttons pressed, I fully recommend seeking out both Bubblegum Crisis and Crash to get a sense of what I feel was the quintessential 80’s anime.

In a couple of weeks check-in again with UKAnifest for a retrospective yet another classic series. But first a question: What does a Dragon, some Balls, and the letter ‘Z’ have in common? ….yes…you know where I am going with this. However, I am not just covering that show! Drop by soon for the first of a 3-part Dragonball retrospective series, starting off with the original 1986 Dragonball!!

The Knight Sabers during one of their nights off....Sylia forgot to mention in the job description that the suits don't come off....ever...

The Knight Sabers during one of their nights off....Sylia forgot to mention in the job description that the suits don't come off....ever...

Until next time...enjoy some nostalgic 80's rock...and don't be alarmed if you suddenly grow a mullet. That's normal...

-Mark