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Watch the first 10 minutes of Starship Troopers: Invasion

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Starship Troopers: Invasion is probably the closest thing to a true sequel to the original movie we may ever get, and after watching the first 10 minutes over at i09, I’m perfectly fine with that.

I’ve talked before about the epic pedigree of the production crew, and watching this has only further confirmed my buying of this film. If you like what you see, you can buy Starship Troopers: Invasion on iTunes right now, or wait a little bit for the DVD or Blu-Ray on 8/28.

Here’s the synopsis of the movie:

“A distant Federation outpost protected by the Starship John A. Warden comes under attack by bugs and the team on Fast Attack Ship Alesia is assigned to help evacuate the survivors and bring military intelligence safely back to Earth. Before the attack ship can rendezvous with the starship, Carl Jenkins, now at the ministry of Paranormal Warfare, takes the starship on a clandestine mission and goes missing in the nebula. The battle-hardened troopers are then charged with a rescue mission that may have much more sinister consequences than they ever could have imagined.”

Plot Summary for “The Wolverine” Revealed

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The official Facebook page for The Wolverine was recently updated with a new short plot summary.

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.

Hugh Jackman is reprising his role as the Adamantium-clawed badass. In a recent interview, he explained how he wanted this to be a stand alone movie, rather than it just being “Wolverine 2”.

We’ve deliberately not called it Wolverine 2 because we want it to be placed and feel like a standalone picture. With an all-new cast and setting it in Japan, it’s going to give us a whole new visual aesthetic. The approach to character means we won’t be overloaded with mutants and teams and the like, so it’ll be more character-based. I think in many ways it will feel like a completely different X-Men film.

The 4-part Wolverine mini-series comic, written by Chris Claremont and pencils by the iconic Frank Miller, follows Logan as he begins a forbidden romance with a Japanese woman whose hand in marriage is, unfortunately, promised to another man. Since Logan won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, it puts him into battle with her father and her samurai-sword-wielding brothers and Silver Samurai.

Sound awesome? It is. If you haven’t read the comic yet, I highly recommend buying it ASAP.

The Wolverine is currently in production, and has a scheduled release date of July 26th, 2013.

Taste Test: World’s First Self-Chilling Energy Drink

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So it’s the middle of the night. I’m relaxing while watching two live-streams (Fred Gallagher from Megatokyo working on the next comic, and Zac from ANN playing through FFVII, complete with color commentary). I’m getting a bit thirsty, so it seems like a good time to try out this new energy drink called West Coast Chill.

Yes, it’s another energy drink. There’s hundreds of ’em lining shelves in stores across the country. So what makes this one stand out? It’s claim to fame is it being the “world’s first self-chilling energy drink”. The “ChillCan,” as its creators (The Joseph Company) calls it, utilizes “MicroCool” technology to drop the temperature of the drink about 30 degrees in 3 minutes.

A can that goes from room-temp to cold in 3 min without popping it in an ice-chest or freezer? Count me in…

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5,000 kids + 1.8 million LEGO bricks = “Build Up Japan”

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Around the world, everyone loves LEGOs. To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary of offering the plastic building blocks in Japan, LEGO sponsored a project called “Build Up Japan”. Over the course of two months and at six different workshops across the country, 5,000 kids used over 1.8 million blocks to build a map of their vision of Japan’s future.

This thing is impressive, and at 82ft long, it is a beast of a map. After initially being assembled in Tokyo, it then became part of the Piece of Peace exhibition that showcases LEGO models of World Heritage Sites.

Check out the gallery past the break for the giant LEGO map’s construction.

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Mists of Pandaria Opening Cinematic Streamed

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WoW heads, time to rejoice! The latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, is just over a month from release! Some of the new additions include a chi wielding monk class, the self explanatory Pandaren race, and the giant turtle riding Wandering Isle.

Blizzard’s cinematics for World of Warcraft (and any of their other projects) have been consistently fun over the years, regardless of if you actually play the games. Their latest trailer showcases smack down cinematic certainly offers an entertaining bit of kung fu panda-ing. (Anyone makes a reference to the Jack Black movies will be shot, and then forced to sign up for an annual WoW subscription)

With the expansion set for release on September 25th, are you planning on getting back into or starting up WoW for Pandaria?

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Studio SHAFT Streams First Promo for Prism Nana

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Animation studio SHAFT began streaming the first promo video for their new series post-Madoka. Magical Suite Prism Nana is centered around  three emotional adolescent girls from a future not too distant from our own time. The video, which premiered at Comic Market last Friday, confirms that the artist Kantoku is the original character designer (and previously designed the characters for The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat).

Click past the break to watch the 3+min promo, as well as pictures of Good Smile Company’s Nendoroid prototypes for the three main heroines.

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Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill English-subbed trailer released

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An English-subbed trailer for Studio Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill began streaming recently. This film was initially released in Japan in July 2011, so why is a trailer being released just now? For starters, Madman Entertainment will be releasing the film in Australia next month. Second, Studio Ghibli themselves are producing an English-language version of the film. Ghibli is receiving some help by Hollywood blockbuster producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.

One thing that may surprise fans is that GKids, not Disney, is handling the film’s distribution stateside. GKids signed a deal with Studio Ghibli to distribute 13 of the studio’s anime films in North America, including Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away. Disney will retain the home video rights to the same films, while GKids will hold the theatrical and non-theatrical distribution rights. I’m surprised Disney agreed to this deal; it’s not like them to share a license in this way.

Even though GKids announced that From Up On Poppy Hill will be released in theaters, don’t be expecting anything widespread anytime soon. Initially, the film will receive a VERY brief run somewhere in Los Angeles County this November in order to qualify for the Academy Awards. GKids will re-release the film in theaters across North America in March 2013, with a Blu-Ray/DVD release sometime thereafter.

The singular fact that Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro, directed this film is enough to keep some viewers away, due to his less-than-stellar directorial debut of Tales from Earthsea in 2006. However, it was Hayao Miyazaki who wrote the script, which is adapted from the shojo manga Kokuriko-Zaka Kara. It’s quite possible that this film can be seen as Miyazaki attempting to mentor his son in order to someday succeed him.

From Up On Poppy Hill follows a group of Yokohama teens in their quest against a wrecking ball that threatens to destroy their school’s clubhouse in preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Check past the break for the English-subtitled trailer and to give us your opinions on the film.

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Team Fortress 2 now has robots….dancing robots…

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The latest update to free-to-play Team Fortress 2 includes a third “Gray” team, consisting of, what else, robots.

Due to this new “threat,” both the red and blue teams have put aside their differences (for now) in order to team up against their robotic doppelgangers.

The new co-op survival mode allows up to five players to battle against waves and waves of the new enemy. Other updates include a new map, new achievements, and I’m quite sure a number of new hats…

In classic Valve style, the update was preceded by a small ARG (Alternate Reality Game). While not the deepest ARG I have come across, parts of this were buried fairly well in the game. Someone by chance found that certain items that were formerly un-equippable were now allowed. After the item was equipped, if a player high-fived someone, they would receive a secret message in the form of the joke. These jokes turned out to have hidden hex code. Fast forward to a few days later when other players figured out the code was an in-game item crafting recipe. Only after all the items were crafted together was a game-wide message released, linking to this comic.

Yea…there are few who can create an ARG better than Valve.

While I only play TF2 sparingly (love playing the demoman or sniper), this update will drag me back, if only for the hilarious new dialogue….but not for the hats.

The update is scheduled to go live on August 15.

Check past the break for a brand new TF2 video, called Mann vs. Machine.

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Google+ launches “Studio Mode” for Hangouts, becomes relevant

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There are a multitude of streaming websites out there, each offering people the ability to share their thoughts or talents with the world. Musicians have really embraced live-streaming as an easy way to reach a wide audience, instead of relying on more traditional outlets. However, many of the streaming options have a limited audio bitrate, which makes music sound like it’s coming through a badly damaged speaker phone. (If you have ever listened to hold music, you know what I’m talking about)

Google+ is aiming to change that, with the launch of “Studio Mode”. This new audio feature drastically improves the sound quality of Google+ Hangouts. Previously, the audio quality was comparable to a standard YouTube video, and was optimized for voice. When Studio Mode is engaged, the sound is near-CD quality; bass sounds powerful, vocals retain emotion, instruments come through clean, and the mid & high frequencies are well-defined.

Sadly, Studio Mode is currently only available in Hangouts On Air, an extension of Google’s video chat service that allowed users to stream to an unlimited audience instead of just 10 people.  Google has been pushing for Hangouts on Air to become an online gathering places for artists, established or up-and-coming (the feature was launched last September with a concert by Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am). I can only guess to the reasons why this option was not included in standard Hangouts (possible bandwidth concerns, staggered release, etc…).

While Google is aiming this new feature squarely at musicians, I can think of other professions that could benefit from this. Recording studios could potentially finally move away from ISDN when sending audio to other locations. Webcasters would benefit from the audio boost by not sounding like they’re on an AM radio station. In general, live streaming will become more enjoyable.

Once this feature is implemented in standard Google+ Hangouts, I may use it for all my videoconferencing and (possible) webcasting needs.

Your move Skype/Citrix.

Check out the difference in the video after the break, featuring the band Suite 709

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First trailer for A Certain Magical Index film, epicness ensues

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I was happy to hear the news earlier this year that Toaru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index) was green-lit for a movie. I was excited to find out that the brand new story will be written by the original light novels’ author (Kazuma Kamachi), several new characters will be designed by the original character designer (Kiyotaka Haimura), and both the series’ director (Hiroshi Nishikiori) and J.C. Staff (who animated the Index TV series and spinoff series Toaru Kagaku no Railgun) are returning for the movie. Now that a full trailer has been released, I feel like an addict, I need my fix NOW.

In the all-new story, taking place just before the completion of the Academy City space elevator “Endymion,” Kamijo and Index encounter a level 0 girl named Arisa. The Magicians are after Arisa, and they attack Academy City. A female leader named Shattoaura leads a unit from Academy City against the attack. Kamijyo and Index learn from Stiyl that Arisa is key to a brewing war between the sides of Magic and Science.

The promo (which can be watched after the break) showcases some of the new characters and mechs, all while maintaining the generally high production values the series is known for. Ending with Toma’s signature line seems a bit out of place in this trailer, but I’m sure got the hardcore fans hyped up.

Admittedly, both the Index and Railgun series like to play with ridiculous logic at times and loves to pander to its fanbase, but it’s a guilty pleasure that I will gladly partake in.

The film is slated for release in Japan on February 23rd, 2013.

Season 1 of A Certain Magical Index is streaming at Funimation.com and is available for DVD pre-order.

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Website + Trailer for 2013 Dragon Ball Z film posted

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Someone in Japan likes the English-speaking world. There is an official English website for next year’s Dragon Ball Z film, complete with an English translation of comments made by creator Akira Toriyama from last month’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. As a bonus, the first full teaser trailer is now streaming.

The film is set during the “lost decade” of story time after the conclusion of the fight with Majin Buu (specifically, between issues 517 and 518 of the original manga). That makes this story canon, instead of a spinoff. Several characters have already been confirmed to appear, including Kuririn, Piccolo and Vegeta.

One of the best bits of information that has been released is Toriyama’s deep involvement with the film’s production, all the way back to the early screenwriting stages. Tie this news with Masahiro Hosoda directing (who previously directed several Dragon Ball Z episodes), and a script by Yusuke Watanabe (who has worked on Gantz and Mirai Nikki), and the expectations for this film have been set very high.

The trailer (which can be watched after the break), showcases an impressive CG world, which ends with a pan around Goku. Other than that, there’s not much to see (of course, it is a teaser trailer), but it’s enough to whet the appetite of DBZ fans worldwide.

The film will open in Japan on March 30th of next year.

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Madoka Magica gets its own credit card

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American anime fans have always looked on from afar as their Japanese otaku brethren were showered with a cornucopia of exclusive items or offers that will never make it stateside. This is one such offer. The extremely popular anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica will have an official MasterCard credit card to celebrate its upcoming film trilogy.

That’s right, an anime will have it’s own credit card.

Granted, US fans could just as easily use the same picture with a stateside credit card that offers custom designs, but it’s just not the same. New card members who sign up by September 20th will be entered into a drawing for one of 200 sets of special movie passes for the first two Madoka movies. Plus, each member will receive one of eight randomly distributed “original premium cards” every month. Once a member collects all eight cards, they will receive an exclusive mount, which, along with the cards, cannot be purchased or won elsewhere.

Some people would look at these perks and call it gimmicky, but the fact that a fan could be a part of an exclusive group can be very compelling, and the cards are just a bonus to that exclusivity. Sadly, I don’t foresee anime becoming mainstream enough in the states in order for an offer like this to arrive.

Oh well, I guess I’ll stick to my current credit cards to slide further into otaku-filled debt…

The first two films of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica trilogy will open on October 6th and 13th in Japan. No announcement has been made regarding a US release as of this posting.