Saturday, February 17, 2007

Review: Prince of Tennis - an Anime

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a show on Cartoon Network's Saturday night line-up called Prince of Tennis. I immediately changed the channel while saying, "Who the hell in their right mind would watch an anime about sports, let alone one about tennis?"

On an appropriate side note: I am a media content masochist. I routinely torture myself for the sure pleasure of it by watching just the worst entertainment you can imagine, including, in one weekend, the complete works of one Mr. Uwe Bowl. Now on with the review.

So of course, that means that I spent this afternoon watching the first 5 episodes, in order, with subtitles on youtube. Of course it does.

To be fair, I read up on the series first. Apparently, Cartoon Network, like most American networks, is only airing select episodes of an anime series (gasp!), much like the WB/CN did with Yu-Gi-Oh! (Did you know there was almost an entire season's worth of episodes before the ones you might have seen on TV?). Furthermore, I have yet to find a dubbed version of any foreign language media that comes close to the quality of a subbed version, and even that I will assume is a pale imitation of the real show, what with the approximations and changes necessary with idioms and colloquialisms to make it easy for a five year old to watch the show.

Prince of Tennis follows the story of a hotshot young freshman, Ryumi, who just moved back to Japan from America after winning a huge tennis championship. The only thing you really need to know about Ryumi is that he is a worthless human being. He treats everyone with total indifference and doesn't even actually care about tennis, much to the ire of anyone he knows who discovers his secret. Ryumi has to prove himself to his high school's tennis team (and much more, I'm sure, possibly involving ninjas, scatological humor, dancing competitions, and lots of boring exposition shown through flashbacks of scenes from prior episodes) and compete in the national championships.

Why do I hate Prince of Tennis? Why am I so hard on it? Shouldn't I have known what I was getting into before wasting an afternoon of my young life watching such a horrid show?

1)It's a worthless animated series with an awful leading character that has but one redeeming quality: his father, a former tennis star, and current pervert. Hilarity ensues.

2)Because the show could have been so much better. There are moments in the first five episodes that actually had me genuinely engaged, but they never lasted more than a really cool looking tennis shot or interesting conversation. I actually feel that there must be some genuinely good sports-themed anime out there that may never make it to America so that companies can capitalize on a "cool" young lead with an "image" that "sells" to tweens and fanboys, alike.

3)Yes, yes I should have.

To cleanse my eyes from this wreck of a show, I will watch the incomparable Tyra Banks tell me off for dubbing her FatTY and then watch the latest episode of a quality anime: Naruto, as aired on cartoon network. I still prefer the subs, but I'll take what I can get without having to leave my couch.

Varb For Me

Friday, February 16, 2007

Review: Ina Garten's Herbed Baked Eggs

I spent today just sitting in front of the TV while surfing the web on my laptop and barely moved an inch. Suddenly, I realized I was hungry and wouldn't you know it, the episode of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network suddenly looked like the best thing in the world. At that moment, she was preparing Herbed Baked Eggs, which I just finished eating only a few minutes ago.

The recipe couldn't be simpler to prepare. In an oven safe dish (small), put 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and half a tablespoon of butter. Place this in your warmed up broiler for three minutes. In the mean time, break three large eggs into a cup or bowl. Also, mix 1/2 a cup of grated cheese (I used mozzarella) with some fresh herbs and spices (I just used crushed red pepper, a little cinnamon, some clove, and cracked black pepper) and a half teaspoon of minced garlic (from the jar is just fine). When the three minutes are up, remove the dish from the broiler and pour in your eggs. Then sprinkle your cheese/herb/garlic mixture on top and broil the entire thing for 5 to 6 minutes, enough time for the whites to become solid. Promptly remove from the broiler and let sit for a minute or two until it is cool enough so you don't burn your mouth. TrentSketch Safety Tip: Please don't taste test straight out of the broiler. Your tongue will thank you and the meal will taste much better. Serve the herbed baked eggs with some toasted bread or a good stiff dinner roll and enjoy.

My goodness, was this ever delicious. There is lots of room for variety in what ingredients you add and the process couldn't be any simpler. Plus, with three large (original recipe said extra large) eggs and some toast or a good roll, it is more than enough to be a meal itself. This was a pretty sophisticated egg dish best saved for when you don't plan to spend the rest of the night sitting home alone pigging out on some Fossil Fuel Ice Cream while pondering who is the pre-ordained winner of American Idol (my bet is Leslie Hunt, which you can read about at the best site for snark, Television Without Pity) or why Tyra Banks cast a whole lot of trannylicious ladies on cycle 8 of Top Model. TrentSketch Safety Tip Do not stare directly at the contestants on Top Model, ever. That way, you can maintain the illusion that all models are beautiful.

Varb For Me

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review: You Suck by Christopher Moore

I'm kind of cheating with the first official entry to the blog, but I have a lot going on right now. So here is my review of You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore.

Christopher Moore is a funny guy. His books range anywhere in subject from a fictional setting of the late youth of Jesus to encounters with creatures normally reserved for the Saturday night B-Feature on a cable station. "You Suck: A Love Story" is Moore's latest attempt to bring his scattered sense of humor to the realm of vampires.

A continuation of 1995's "Bloodsucking Fiends", "You Suck" opens with C. Thomas Flood discovering that his vampire girlfriend, Jodi, has turned him into a vampire without even asking him first. Tommy's friends, known as The Animals, recently came into quite a bit of money from selling the artwork collection of an ancient vampire they confronted. This money is used to hire a solid blue call-girl on a break-out trip to Las Vegas named Blue. In the meantime, Jodi, Tommy, and the now bronze-encased elder vampire have to get out of San Francisco as part of a deal with the police officers who caught up with the vampires. With the help of a young goth girl, self-declared Abby Normal, Jodi and Tommy have to effectively appease everyone who has ever known them to ensure their continued safety as children of the night.

Sound confusing? And that's not even half the characters that play integral parts in the novel. Christopher Moore is very talented at taking a concept and spreading it out as far as he can to make a simple gag - couple fighting over girl turning boy into vampire - into an epic comedy of Hollywood action film proportions. But the problem in "You Suck: A Love Story" is that there are far too many characters to keep track of. As the plot twists and turns, with significant information about the exact situation everyone is in spread out thinly and evenly throughout the work. a reader can easily lose sight of what is happening, who all these people are, and why does everyone seem to talk to animals in one capacity or another.

The book succeeds as a very easy read - it contains no challenging language, and, outside of a few disturbing visuals, doesn't contain any potentially offensive material. In fact, it is when the Moore tries to present a simplified version of the story - through the diary entries of Abby Normal - that the book reaches its highest points. A reader can understand exactly what is happening and laugh till they cry at the same time. The book doesn't just have a few shifts in perspectives. Every new chapter marks a new person's story, and sometimes this most significant character shifts during the chapters themselves.

If you are looking for a very funny quick read, you could do far worse than "You Suck: A Love Story." But Christopher Moore has, and can, do far better than what he presented in his latest novel.

Varb For Me


Hey. This is my official blog for all things reviews. I already have killer content available at my associated content page, but I wanted to be able to post this kind of thing easier. Expect nothing less than the best review site this side of pajiba.

Signing out,


Varb For Me