FINALLY Viz does something right…

I’m so incredibly happy!

I found out yesterday that Viz has finally released my my all-time favorite anime, Hikaru no Go on the iTunes store! You can purchase each of the five, 15-episode seasons for $19.99 and–most importantly–get all 75 episodes with the well-done English dub. To my knowledge, some of these were never released or broadcast. I can finally enjoy the show in its entirety rather than being hung up at episode 45 right before Hikaru passes the Pro exam. You can also purchase each episode individually for $1.99 or rent for 99¢. This is some of the best anime news I’ve had in a long time! If you’re not an iTunes person, it’s also coming to The Playstation Network and Amazon VOD.

After Viz Media stopped releasing the show on DVD in 2008–even though it had already been dubbed and was more than halfway through (45 of 75 episodes)–I basically stopped supporting them: I canceled my subscriptions to their magazines, stopped buying their products, and sold many of the ones I owned (especially my Naruto and Inuyasha boxed sets). I’ve continued to purchase the Hikaru no Go manga volumes as they’ve come out but that was pretty much it (except I recently started purchasing the Cross Game manga too–it is so excellent that even a grudge couldn’t stop my buying it).

So now, I can begin to forgive. I will even begin singing their praises once they bring back and complete The Prince of Tennis, Full Moon, and Mär. While they’re at it, they can become my heroes if they start selling Inuyasha – The Final Act and Cross Game.

Maybe now they’ve learned their lesson and will support fans of their other properties–there’s more to anime than Bleach, Death Note and Naruto.

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Playing Games…

I’ve always been a big player of miniature wargames, ever since Junior High School. It still provides my weekly Friday night entertainment and I’m even getting ready to spend 3 days at our local HMGS convention this weekend, including running two different games.

But lately I’ve been really interested in playing other kinds of games. It started when I dug out my copy of Carcassonne: Travel Edition to play with my Mom & Dad. Well, it was a huge success and the family now owns two sets of the regular game as well. My nephews have really become cutthroat players; we pretty much play every Sunday.
A while back I also purchased a Mahjong set in Chinatown thinking it would be something interesting to learn. So far, we’ve begun playing it on Sundays as well using a super-simplified version of the Chinese Official Rules that I found online–it’s starting to get pretty fun now that everyone’s getting the hang of it.
I also recently bought a book about chess and signed up at chess.com. My grandpa Kendrick taught me the game when I was a kid and I’ve played on-and-off for years (mostly off), but it’s yet another game I’ve been wanting to play recently. I’m also determined to learn to play Shogi (Japanese Chess) and actually use the set I purchased off eBay a couple years ago. Oh yeah, and now that I’m working in Thousand Oaks again, I seriously mean to attend the Ventura County Go Club on Wednesdays and start playing Go again.
There’s just something really interesting to me about playing these old standards right now. I think part of it is because I can play with my family and other friends as opposed to wargaming with my wargame friends (i.e. miniature wargames don’t seem to be quite as accessible to the “average” person).
Anybody up for a game? There’s also Scrabble and I suppose I should dig out my Backgammon set. I’m even thinking about hosting a once-a-month “Non-wargame Game Day” at my house on some Saturday…

Annual Cotsen Go Tournament

This past weekend was the annual Cotsen Go Tournament here in L.A., and I once again participated in the vain hope that I might get better. My record ended up being 1-4…

Of course, I have nobody to blame but myself. I’ve just not had enough time or patience to do any playing or studying of the game at all. In fact, I haven’t played since the first part of August after returning from Japan. “You can’t win if you don’t play” is, I believe, the old adage. The worst part was that on the first day I had to play on this flimsy, vinyl mat goban that was on a table that was too narrow; about 20 minutes into the game, I accidentally knocked the 1/4 inch edge of the board that was hanging off the table, all the stones on my half of the table slid to the center and I had to forfeit! There was absolutely no way I could’ve put the game back together. AARGH!

The one game I ended up winning (by a sheer fluke, I assure you) turned out to be the most fun and interesting game for both myself and my opponent (Lisa from the Tucson Go Club). She and I were both the same ranking (22 kyu) and we both did good and bad moves. It was really fun—thanks, Lisa! That was my fourth game—the fifth and final game was up against a charming young lady who basically handed me my head.

So in the end, I suppose it was good practice. There were actually 6 of us playing for the Ventura County Go Club this year, up from only 2 of us last year, so that was good. I also promised my fellow club members that I would begin playing again regularly and studying the game—specifically because since I’ll be a new homeowner soon and have absolutely ZERO disposable income for other distractions, I’ll be able to concentrate on free hobbies like studying my Go game! That way maybe I’ll be able to get out of the 20’s someday.

I’ll look forward to next year’s tournament to have a little better success!