Pure, unadulterated geekery.
Everything from obscure cult films to our random thoughts on Toronto culture/events is what you'll find here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Geek Apparel and Merchandise

As my counterpart, Shinji, has done something like this before I thought I'd try it myself. As I started writing this well over a month ago I'm kind of glad I've only finished this now. As this post now seems well timed with the upcoming holidays.

Now for those adults out there who are well connected to there inner child, and those who just love anything geeky, here's a little run down of some cool geek merchandise (i know, wow, those two words in the same sentence). Keep in mind I'll be trying to update this particular post every so often, and no I'm not getting commission from these sites. But wouldn't a discount be a nice sentiment.

*Also I don't have any affiliation with these websites, just passing on what I assume to be cool merchandise and great gift ideas*

The first is an obvious choice, http://www.thinkgeek.com/. The name alone hints at what you'll find, from Jedi robes to organ transplant cooler. The website is extremely varied in terms of merchandise. Its definitely a place to go for those who have embraced their inner geek, as well as a great place to go shopping for people who are regularly hard to shop for. You have a game geek in the family get him an Ocarina. A star wars geek living in your basement get him a yoda plush. For the impossible to shop for shut in upstairs you can get a survival-kit-in-a-sardine-can. There's even something for that special lady in you life, pure-magic. The site is basically an ever growing stock of gift ideas for geeks and regular people of course. Though references may be lost on them. If your not completely sold on this site or not sure what to get out of all its awesome stock. Think back to an episode of Big Bang Theory in which Raj walks in to the comic shop blasting Darth Vader's theme music from his shirt, that's right its a real thing, enough said (link).

Another excellent choice would be http://sharkrobot.com/. Which is a site completely littered with internet and gaming references, countless web comic themed items, a number of art prints, and various t-shirt and hoody prints. Websites like VG cats, halolz, yugioh/team four star abridged, eddsworld, and harry partridge all have their merchandise on this website. It also contains some art prints and buttons for those who'll like to accessorise their cool hipster bags and rooms.

Now if you want a novelty t-shirt where the novelty doesn't diminish once you've bought it, bustedtees is the place to go. If you know about college humor you may already know about this website as they're the ones who started it.

Enjoy, and happy holidays from Blaku

Sunday, September 25, 2011

LusTorRak's escape = Shinji's return.

It has been decided that during LusTorRak's hiatus, I will be making my return from my own unannounced hiatus.

Technically, we're still both going to be on hiatus (as I will be returning to school in January) however, since I have the current semester off I will do my best to fill the gap.

I will be making a few changes to the look of the blog, as well as posting regularly again (did I ever post regularly?).

I have 4 posts lined up, so look out for those soon.

I also will be contributing to the blaku twitter (why do we have one?) whenever I think of something that is relevant, but not quite worth being posted here.

See you soon (I really mean it this time)!


Saturday, September 3, 2011


Now I know a blog that's spent a majority of its content commenting and critiquing anime & manga was a new and original idea, and many will be disappointed that its gone, but never fear as this is just a hiatus. Yes that's right a hiatus, as schools right around the corner and unfortunately Shinji and I will be concentrating on school work (more or less) until the next summer break, blogging as a hobby will have to take a back seat to life. We'll still be trying to post every now and again, especially around the holidays, but until either of us gets some real free time, this blog will be a bit bare bones for some time (nothing new right?).

Lastly I thank you all for visiting and checking in and reading our posts, and even more to those who have spread the good word of the Blaku (speaking to you Khalid Birdsong, http://friedchickenandsushi.com/).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Random Manga Review: Suicide Island (a.k.a Jisatsutou)

From the title itself you can tell this is a seinen (basically means, 'for a mature audience') story. Which already entails a mature narration, serious characters, and a truly messed up scenario that befalls the stories cast. This story revolves around a group of seemingly ordinary people who have one thing in common. Which is that they've all attempted suicide many times in their lives. So many times in fact that Japan no longer wants to support such burdens and abandons them on an island. In which those who've already given up on life must, ironically, fight to survive. A likely comparison would be 'Lord of the Flies' mixed with 'Battle Royale' but with a more mature cast of characters.

The story starts out with the main character, Sei, waking up in a hospital after a failed suicide attempt and is asked to sign a form after stating his wish to die. The next time he wakes up is on an island with a number of other people, all of which are just as confused as he is. They quickly find a large billboard reading something along the lines that the Japanese government has denounced their citizenship and they are, for all intensive purposes, dead and any attempt to come back will be seen as a violation of territorial waters. Japan seems to defend such actions with the simple ideology that these individuals have given up the right to live, and so the  government has given up their responsibility to such citizens.

This manga will keep you interested by its two (but not limited to) of its redeeming features. Which is its realism of the situation and its choice in a main character. By realism I mean the story doesn't revolve around a bunch of misfortunate souls who try to rally together for the common good, it is not by any means a Japanese version of Gilligan's Island. As per a seinen series it contains emotionally distraught individuals who are caught in a horrible situation in which some are trying to help, most do nothing, and others intend to harm the collective good.

Sei, the main character, seems to fit in to the category of an unlikely hero. Though he is by no means a hero, or that there's even a hero in this story. Simply put, he seems like every one else around him on the island at the start of the story, both inept and still clinging to the idea that life isn't worth living. But than he slowly grows in to a somewhat confident and competent man, not unlike his counter part Ryou. Who acts as the groups leader early on in the story, and single handedly brings everyone together to try and survive.

A very interesting read for those in to the psychological and seinin genre. A very cool read for those, like myself, who are a bit tired of over the top action mangas, and want a story that makes them empathize with characters and has them wonder what they would do in certain situations presented in this manga.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pirates of The Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides Review (Minor Spoilers)

If you enjoyed the last three films of Pirates of The Caribbean mainly for its compelling plot, the relationships between characters, and the way the sub-plots seemed to merge so well in to the main story than you might want to skip the fourth installment of this franchise.

In this fourth film there are only three or four characters from the past three films (counting the monkey) and a few new characters who introduced in the film. Now this isn't reall the issue I have with this movie, in fact its natural for any continuing franchise to add new characters in order for it to grow and stay fresh, its just how they went about it. I'm mainly referring to the introduction of Angelica, one of Jack's many love conquests from the past but with a small twist, he apparently had genuine feelings for her. Throughout the film they got nostalgic time and time again, digging up old times so many times that I was beginning to think she was some minor character from the other films I had forgotten about. I only see more character issues will arise from Angelica in any following films as the studio has expressed interest in making a Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and 6.

I'm going to avoid the Spaniards in this review, a.k.a Deus Ex Machina, as they only appeared in four short moments in the film.  I'll now turn my attention to the films initial plot and story. A task that would be easier if the two didn't disappear from time to time throughout the film, or had not become too convoluted. Which is a shame as the other films handled multiple sub-plots and intertwining personal stories so well. Such as the third movies main plot being the end of the pirate age and a desperate struggle to keep it going but within this story you had; Davey Jones being controlled and was trying to release himself, Jack was dead and his friends were trying to revive him, Will was on the Dutchman and was trying to help his father, the Pirate Lords were coming together, and so on and so forth. The difference is that the first through third films didn't make the viewers feel like the action was being shoved down their throats. But there is given consideration as the third movie was a two parter and was a continuation of the second movie. I would rather have seen this franchise stay as a trilogy, but that isn't too say that this movie wasn't completely void of merit, mere enjoyment, and Jack (I mean Captain) Sparrow's brand of humor. An ok movie over all, especially considering the incredible amount it could've really been ruined, but doesn't really stand up to the other films level.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Comic Book Blockbusters

The ill fated summer of blockbusters is here, and as shown at such events as Comic-Con and the like, an entire parade of hero movies lye in wait as Marvel (Disney) joins the rat race with DC (Warner Bros.). Here's a little run down for up coming anime and comic movies : The Goon, Ghost in the Shell, Fathom, Cowboy Bepop, Conan, Tin Tin, Cowboy's and Aliens, Captain America, The Avengers, Green Lantern, and X-Men First Class. Suffice it to say the more main stream stories, and even some obscure series, have gone through the medium change digestion and we'll soon be seeing both live action and animated adaptations of comics & manga's coming out of the wazoo. Though not all the mentioned series above, such as The Avengers, will be coming out this year. Though there has already been talk of making a marvel cinema universe or continuity (so hopefully Spiderman 3 will stay an isolated incident) in which the following movies such as Thor and Captain America will all lead up to one super block buster. Here's a small take on both the trailers of these upcoming films, released facts and tid bits on them, and lastly how I see their original story will be translated on to the big screen.

Green Lantern: I'm going to start with this as it was the first comic book I've ever read, so I have much nostalgic love for the series, even though I may have stopped reading it. This movie will be starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, not too particular on this casting choice but if anything he'll be able to pull off the cocky test pilot that is Hal Jordan. But basing the movie on the trailer, this doesn't look like it will be a disappointment. I say this not only because the original story of Hal Jordan was amazing and enjoyable in its simplicity. Alien crashes, lantern ring calls Jordan, Jordan gains power. With this as the base for the story I don't really see how they could mess up the film in reference to the story, the characters are another thing but if trailer does the film justice I can't wait.

Captain America: Ah yes the original avenger, a film that'll undoubtedly affect the planned Avengers film. But this may hold the movie back as they now have to consider another movies plot and story direction, both of which haven't even been completed, and may interrupt the films flow.

X-Men First Class: Now, from what I gathered in the trailer this is meant to be a pre-quell from X-Men 1 & 2. Of course discounting Origins in which Wolverine already met the future X-Men and brotherhood, and where Emma Frosts twin sister was Logan's Girlfriend. But the first two X-men were truly enjoyable(discounting the Last Stand for a reason) and they may actually do the brand justice in the film portraying a young Magneto and Prof. X.

Cowboys & Aliens: Definitely on my to-watch-list. For the single reason I think it may turn out better than the original comic it was based on. Why do I say this? Because the trailer seemed much more interesting than the comic. At the beginning of the comic it had a comparative narration between the early settlers of America with evil aliens possibly obsessed with expanding over the universe, which I found interesting but was later became too preachy. As a short work the comic was ok, and I hopefully will become a more interesting story in cinema format.

The Goon: One part occultish and two parts brawls, there's nothing to say for this series except read it, watch it, and please for the love of God never imitate its character. (Knife in eye) The Goon is an interesting read for something that first seemed slightly done at the beginning. But the characters are funny, the plot interesting enough to read on, and one very enticing trailer makes it almost impossible to miss the movie.

Thor: At times Thor seems like both an under rated and over rated character at the same time. As a stand alone character, within the story of Asgard and other Norse mythology he is truly a compelling character if used right. Now I actually just saw this film, don't worry no spoilers, and it was way better than what I expected. A bit of humor here and there while having a story based on both Marvels adaptation of Thor (such as Jane Foster) and Thor's Scandinavian heritage. The film was centered around Thor's growth as he became a pretentious child to a true hero and, hopefully later, a worthy king.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Furuya Usamaru's "Genkaku Picasso" Manga Review and TCAF

Usumaru's Picasso is anything but boring or predictable. This is the kind of manga I like to read. An unbelievable yet enjoyable premise, amazing art work, interesting enough characters, and a general appeal I feel for the story. It's only misdemeanor is that it seems more fit for a one shot than a serialization, but if the author can keep it original and compelling, more power to him. This is the story about a a middle school kids second chance at life, at the wish of his friend to Buddha he was able to continue living. But at a price, through his art he must save people from any darkness or heavy burden they have. Thus the appeal, a story about literally touching a person's heart through the characters art. And the person who came up with such a tale will be at this years TCAF.

What is TCAF you may ask? Well obviously if your reading this and never heard of Toronto's Comic Arts Festival you haven't truly walked down the honorable path of the Blaku. But seriously, it's essentially a celebration of the art medium we call comics. There you can meet the artists, as well as other like minded people, check out the events and exhibits. It's had many writers over the years and from what I've read its only getting bigger. I've seen both Mariko Tamaki and Bryan Lee O'Malley, and briefly went to the event in which they spoke about free speech within comics. If you enjoy the art of comics, especially its other genre's not delving in to super heroes, this is the place for you.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Topic: Gargoyles & 90's Television

I've gone about watching some of my favourite shows back when I was but a wee' lad. Most are from the 90's like batman,spiderman, beasties and so on. One thing I realize was the amount of complexity I recognized back then but never really understood as a kid. An example is an episode from spiderman when he lost his memories and it takes a fan of his, whom he visited earlier, to rescue him. As a kid, once the smart quips and fights were done I faded interest, wasn't until the end when spidey gives himself a pat on the back and leaves the little girls house that the camera zooms out and reads 'home of the severely ill' or something like that which implied she was dying the whole time(wonder if that would've traumatized me back then).

But I degrees, its just that after watching these shows for a while I soon compared them to the stuff on television now. Comparing the 90's Batman to The Batman is like comparing Keith Ledger to the guy from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. But its not like I'm going to rant about 'all the trash on television these days'. I'm neither old enough or caring enough to do that. Of course there's crap on television, its television. What medium doesn't have trash coming out the wazoo. Its the few gems that make it worth the while. Such is the case with movies, comics, manags, and so on. For all I know I probably just can't find those diamonds in the rough.

But let me transition in to Gargoyles. This show captured my interest ten years ago and again a few weeks ago. I'm no where near half way done the series from what I can see. But any show that can convert various mythologies like, mount Olympus, King Arthur and Excalibur, Native American and Native Australian myths and legends, Odin, and even Anubis in to a coherent plot is definitely timeless (I left out Anansi for the sole reason that he's a trickster not a freaking filler villain). And I'm not the only one who agrees as this show, apparently, had yearly conventions in the states which only stopped a year or two ago. The writer for the show, and a few others involved with it, still portray interest and commitment to both this awesome show and its fans.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life of a Blaku: Fried Chicken and Sushi

This comic pretty much sums up the existence of a blaku. In other words, this is my life:
This strip is from an online web comic series called "Fried Chicken and Sushi" by Khalid Birdsong. It's about Karl, a black American cartoonist who is living in Japan as an E.L.F. (English Language Friend).

Fried Chicken and Sushi is a fascinating comic. It has quite a few "laugh out loud" moments (the humor is dry, and quite witty) and more often than not, you'll be able to say "Ah, I can totally relate!" and "THIS IS THE TRUTH."

There is a new episode every Tuesday and Thursday.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Toronto Hangouts

One thing I've seen around various forums and what nots, are complaints of where to buy comics, manga's, and other such nic nacs in Toronto. I've even heard these complaints from fellow Canadian bred Torontonians. Now I'm no expert but as big a place Toronto is, should it really be that hard? The correct answer is no, so here's a little list of places to visit.

First off lets assume this'd be the first comic shop you go to, in which case your gonna want to go somewhere where you'll be sent to the hospital due to major nerdgasm. For this I suggest the Silver Snail (367 Queen St. W), heck its even built like a dream as it looks small from the outside but once you get in and through the cramp front counter it becomes nerdvana. Figurines here, new and old comics there, Alien replica's on display, and maybe an interesting conversation can be heard somewhere in the background.

Now one for ALL your comic needs, I give you the Beguiling (601 Markham St.). As awesome as its name is confusing. This store has a personal place in my mind as it gave me the opportunity to say "Yes, its free comics day today". That's right you read right free comics during a single day of the year. Now I understand this isn't the only store that does this but it was the first one I found out about and almost hugged the person who told me (thank God for self restraint). Another aspect I enjoy about the Beguiling is its functioning web site, not a big deal to most but after using both Hairy Tarantula's and the Silver Snails website I'm giving the Beguiling credit for atleast having a functioning web page.

Now another one I enjoy going to, mostly out of convenience, is Hairy Tarantula. Now this one has two locations one at 6979 Yonge St, which is the one I've been to, and the other is 2949 Dundas St. W.This place has virtually everything from board games, to yu-gi-oh cards, and an impressive array of anime DVD's in stock. A favourite of mine because of the chill atmosphere of the place and a nice cast of characters behind the register.

That's my two cents thrown in to the mix and I hope I've been of some service to you loyal readers and 'true beleivers'. And to add to the above list hear are a couple more, Though I haven't been to many of these, or I have and it was on a very brief whim, so I can't really say much. But hey, that might add to the adventure

The Labyrinth, 1,000,000 Comix, , 3rd Quadrant, Excalibur Comics, Red Nails, Pendragon, Atomic Age Books, Cyber City, Red Nails II, and probably a couple more I haven't even heard/googled as of yet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Random Manga Review #2: Bambino

Once again I haven't done much in terms of quantity, I just hope it means I've been leaning towards quality. Maybe posting more often should be my new years resolution........and that'll happen as soon as world peace is worked out and FOX & BET goes off the air with a live apology by its C.E.O's right when they commit Japanese ritual suicide.

But enough of that though because I've found another diamond in the rough. As I said before, for these reviews I'd either choose a manga I've read recently or one I've picked up randomly. And this is pretty random as I continued second guessing myself for picking it up as I read through the description (which contained the words "cooking" and "manga"), but I'm a sucker for a slice of life story. Here you have the protagonist, Ban, finally taking a serious try at the culinary arts at a fancy Italian restaurant deep in the city and away from his small town. Of course he's had experience at his sensei's shop, but nothing can prepare him for the gruelling reality that awaits him. Don't worry, this is basically the first couple of chapters, not too far in to reading this and you'll see this little bambino (a nickname he got that refers to his apparent lack of skills) grow as both a chef and as an adult. The main gist of this story is to be a personal one as he goes from country hick to gifted chef. You'll find this story contains a dopple ganger of sorts mirroring his ambitions, the classic perverted sensei but with a mature twist, and true to life love problems. Believe me when I say that this story is so good in its portrayal of life and the pursuit of a dream that its almost palpable. Once again I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Apple is ROTTEN (how punny!)

Well, I would be lying if I didn’t say that a post was overdue. I guess you can say that posting more frequently is my resolution for 2011 (laughs).

Apple products give me a headache, yet I still chose to use them. I guess you can say that I have a love/hate relationship with them. That being said, when I found out there was a new iPod touch, I was kind of excited. Retina display, 2 cameras and of course, hundreds of apps…I was prepared to ask my mother to buy one for my Christmas gift, so I checked Apple’s website—and that’s when my complaints started to arise.

The first thing I noticed was the fact that Apple blatantly left out the 16GB iPod touch. There are so many reasons why this is wrong. For starters, the entire reason to buy an iPod touch would be to listen to music, and use apps. Most people have at least 8 gigs of music that they would want to put on an mp3 player, and obviously, the apps take up enough room. A 16GB iPod touch is the only way to go, for the sake of using half the space for music, and the other half for applications. Buying a 32GB would be a waste of money just because it would be a lot of space that I have no need for. -_- Rather than getting rid of the 16GB model, they should have gotten rid of the 8GB.

The second (and most irksome!) thing I noticed was the price. For starters, the 8GB was set at a price that anyone would deem more appropriate for a 16GB model ($249). The next size up, (32GB) was set at $319. For a joke, I checked the US Apple store website and to my disgust, I saw that as usual, American pricing is way cheaper.

There really isn’t a good excuse for the ridiculous difference between the pricing, as right now, the CAD is above (or perhaps by the time I post this, it will have dropped to on par) the USD. And of course, the US Apple store will not ship to Canada, the bastards. =_=

So I guess my only options are:

  1. To boycott Apple Canada, and only buy Apple products when I visit the States
  2. To boycott Apple entirely, and not buy anything from them ever again
  3. To keep complaining about it.

I think the decision is clear.