September 30, 2016 : Dragon Ball Z: The Fall of Men

I don’t know how it took this long, but I just stumbled on this DBZ Fan Fiction live-action film. It was released a year ago and made by Black Smoke Films, a French production company.

It takes place in an alternate universe during the Android/ Cell Saga. I thoroughly enjoyed it; and given the fact that it now has over 20 million views, I am not alone.

The narrative was solid, but you have to accept that it didn’t stay true to the manga/ anime. Personally I like how they created their own spin on the story. However, what I really liked was all the subtle references to the series – both DBZ and Dragonball.

The YouTube Channel also has several Featurettes as well as an 85 minute Making-Of film. The only downside to these extras is that they are in French, but they do have English subtitles.

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:44 pm

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July 6, 2016 : Plenty Coming Down Toonami’s Pipeline

Anime tends to be comprised of short runs – either for a season or the series as a whole. This means Toonami must frequently add new material to its lineup; and there has recently been much to talk about their schedule, both in the short-term and long-term.

In the immediate future, One-Punch Man will be starting on July 16th, and it looks… interesting.

One-Punch Man started as a Web-comic back in 2009 and quickly went viral. The webcomic is still ongoing, but it was also remade into a digital manga and that was later adapted into an anime series. It apparently parodies the superhero genre as well as martial arts anime (like DBZ). Needless to say, I am intrigued.

The next bit of news is the announcement that Season 2 of Attack On Titan will air next Spring. For the record, I believe this is the Japanese premiere date and not Toonami’s. However, given Titan’s popularity, smart money says it will soon follow.

To be honest, I am mixed on this show. It had so much promise, but I felt the second half of the the first season really dragged. As a side note, the first season was made in 2013 (and aired on Toonami back in 2014) – it seems they are taking a page from the Venture Bros.’ production schedule.

Lastly, Adult Swim released a cool behind-the-scenes video for Samarai Jack. It doesn’t show any footage, but it has plenty of Genndy – and that’s more than enough to get me even more excited for the show’s return. I always prefer these types of videos versus trailers because they remain spoiler free, yet still provide insight into show.

I was originally going to start the post with this info, but decided against it since I have talked plenty about Samarai Jack lately. I was going to type that I’ve talked about it ‘more than enough’, but I don’t think you can ever talk enough about Jack.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:53 pm

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February 11, 2016 : Nimbus Done Right!

This is what I call “Hoverboard, done right”:

Apparently there are several videos in which people convert a Hoverboard to a Nimbus, but dressing up as Goku and going out in public was a nice touch. I’m not sure I get the ending – or why Goku is wearing shades – but I still like it.

I also stumbled upon this gem:

I believe Spike would approve… had he survived his fight with Vicious.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:50 am

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November 27, 2015 : Vegeta And Goku AMA

Chris Sabat and Sean Schemmel, voices of Vegeta and Goku respectively, did an AMA a few months back. It’s pretty interesting and not too long. Plus, it was fun to actually see what the voice actors looked like.

There still isn’t an American release date for Dragon Ball Super. Release dates have been for other regions so I assume it’s not too far away.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:25 pm

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August 6, 2015 : Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ (And The Transitive Property)

Last night, I saw Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ – and I wasn’t the only one since the movie is killing it during it’s limited release in the theaters. In fact, I tried to see the 7pm show, but it was sold out. Instead, I had to wait around for the 8pm show, which also had a good sized crowd. The takeaway lesson from this is to buy tickets online… particularly for the Iron Giant super-limited-theatical-release.

As for Resurrection, it was solid. I liked it more than its predecessor, Battle Of Gods; However, ultimately it was still a DBZ movie, and I find that the franchise shines in episodic format because it is given adequate time to create the world and properly define the characters’ hierarchy of power.

In order for the movies to move the plot along (and keep things entertaining), the story has to employ ‘DBZ-math’ – which entails forgetting the Transitive Property. For example, Fighter A is stronger than Fighter B; and Fighter B is stronger than Fighter C. According to ‘DBZ-math’, Fighter C can easily go toe to toe with Fighter A.

Still, Resurrection was fun; and I don’t want to give away anything, so below is my spoiler-free, bullet-point takeaways:

At the end of the day, Resurrection ‘F’ was worth it. I’m still not sure how the new series will turn out, but the movie does hint at the general direction it will take.

posted by Pi Visuals at 4:59 pm

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May 3, 2015 : A New Dragon Ball Series Is Gonna Happen

It’s been 18 years since the last Dragon Ball Series, and that had an asterisk since it was GT (creator Akira Toriyama was not involved with that although he did give his blessing for its production). However, that will soon change as Dragon Ball Super will premiere in Japan this July. Toriyama is overseeing the project, but he will not direct. No US release date has been set, but there’s no doubt it will be made readily available to US audiences eventually.

The latest addition to the franchise has come out of the success of the two most recent theatrical films, Battle Of Gods and Resurrection F (the latter of which is set to air in America this summer). This new series will take place after the Majin Buu saga, which probably means they won’t acknowledge anything that happened in GT… not a bad idea.

There is no doubt that I will check out the new series. However, I will have fairly low expectations. It is tough extending the life of these types of shows. Each season or story arc requires an even stronger bad guy, and I find that that devalues previous enemies (and starts to get stale story wise). Plus, I still believe that Gohan should have supplanted Goku as the main protagonist after the Cell Saga. He was the one that truly developed and transformed (pun intended) from the Saiyan Saga through Cell. Going back to Goku in the Buu Saga felt tiresome to me.

Oh well. It’s still cool news; and when it does finally air, I will look forward to cool action sequences… and perhaps some Mr. Popo. However, if there is an episode with getting a driver’s license, I’m out.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:16 am

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December 18, 2014 : DBZ Style Disappearing Effect

For the past month, I’ve wanted to reproduce the ‘vanishing’ effect often used in DragonBall Z fight scenes. I always thought it was cool and wanted to figure out a way to create it. DBZ just started replaying on Adult Swim from the first episode, and I just purchased the upgrade to Lightwave 2015. Those were reasons enough. Below is the final product.

I went with two characters from Ninjas Tales because… well, they’re ninjas. It was fun to revisit those models. The animation done in Lightwave was pretty minimal – it was basically a kick. Most of the work was done in After Effects, which was used to create the actual ‘disappearing’ effect. Throw in a few sound effects, and this short took less than a week to crank out.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:53 pm

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August 5, 2014 : I Christen Thee… Piccolo

To say it was long overdue would be an understatement, but I finally got myself a new computer! This is the first new one I’ve had in 8 or 9 years; and to make sure if fully met my current and future production requirements, I decided to build it from scratch… something I have never done before. Seeing as how I wasn’t very knowledgeable about computer hardware, I had to do a lot of research into the various components.

It took some time and a great deal of effort, but the end result is the computer you see below (with and without side panels). I call him Piccolo.

I am very stoked to have a computer that can easily (and quickly) handle the programs used for production. Granted, I still need to install most of these, but I’d like to think most of the hard work is over. This is technically the third computer I’ve owned that was built from scratch, however the first two were put together by Moridin.

In case you’re curious about the name, I give all of my computers DBZ character names. This is the fourth one. The first one was Vegeta (obviously), who was one of the home-built computers I mentioned above. He was followed by Gohan, which was a Dell. I then received a used, home-built computer (mostly for music recording and additional storage), and it was named Tien.

And now, I can add Piccolo to the list. I considered naming it Trunks but felt the Saiyan race was already well represented. For the record, Vegeta is no longer with us. He died a painful death a few years ago, presumably at the hands of a virus named Frieza. Gohan and Tien are both still in my arsenal and was used to make Ultra. However, they are sorely outdated, and I have been questioning their usefulness for quite some time now. I briefly considered changing their names to Yamcha and Krillin…

posted by Pi Visuals at 9:54 pm

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July 8, 2014 : DBZ Animated Movie Hitting Theaters

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, came out in Japan March of 2013. This is the first movie in 17 years for the series and will now have a limited English dub release. It is set to premiere in 350 North American theaters from August 5-9. You can check out the FUNimation trailer below:

The plot seems pretty much on par with a DBZ movie – that is to say, ‘meh’ – however, the animation looks very crisp. In addition to seeing a fair amount of 3D in the trailer, I am willing to bet this is the first movie in the franchise to be done digitally (versus the old school cel-shaded method).

While I will go in with relatively low expectations, it will be nice to see some new material from the DBZ franchise. Also on the plus side, series creator Akira Toriyama was involved in the production – which will make me overlook the fact that some people call this movie in-canon (having taken place after the Buu saga but before DBGT). After all, I’ve said it before: the series ended after the Cell Saga… at least that is what I tell myself.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:33 pm

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September 25, 2013 : Closing The Book On Bleach

Good news! Bleach has finally come to a satisfactory point to stop watching! And it only took over 300 episodes, 7 years, and countless filler sagas. I could (and should) have stopped watching a long time ago, however it became an example of wanting to see things through. By the end of the second season, a story line was set up – sadly they just finished resolving it. While a lot longer than anticipated, it was satisfying to see how everything wrapped.

In many ways, Bleach (the series) is very tragic. It started out so promising – having a cool story and moving at a quick pace. Unfortunately, the anime eventually caught up with the manga, and that lead to mindless side story arcs and incredibly slow paced episodes to allow the manga time to generate new material. This killed the show’s momentum, and I am sure it turned many people off of it. Part of me wonders what might have been had it not slowed to a snail’s pace.

Still, I am glad I kept with it. Of course, I am also happy to be done with it. I believe there are two more seasons, with another 60 episodes; but much like the Buu saga and DragonBall GT, I will pretend they don’t exist.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:23 am

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