All About Archen

Although I usually don't talk about myself very much, I find that when I go to other people's pages, I like to go to the 'about' section and find out a little bit about the person who wrote it. You never know, out of the 5 people that visit my site a year, one might want to know something about me. If this seems long then keep in mind that I've added stuff over the years and it's... accumulated

Why did I choose "Archen" as an alias? When I first signed up for a Geocities account, I needed a member name. I tried a few, until I finally pulled "Archen" off the top of my head. Even though it was a female character, it sounded pretty unisex to me so I decided to go with it. The character was originally from a book... well so I thought. As it turns out, the character's name was "Achren" not Archen - so I managed to end up with an original name because of my bad memory. As far as I know I am the first Archen on the Internet. As it stands now, I'm rather glad I picked it, instead of choosing some generic anime related name which is common now days.

So who is Archen and how did he get interested in anime? Well one story has it that Archen was born one day in a far away land. Although being unusually cute, his parents abandoned him to run away with the circus. Archen was then taken in by a traveling band of exotic belly dancers where he learned many strange and unusual skills. One day during his travels while seeking a remote village, he became thirsty. He stopped by a large pool of water deep within a forest for a drink. It was there he encountered an enchanting spirit of the tiny lake. She spoke to him through the reflection of the mirror like pool. Her beauty and elegance quickly captured his heart. Before she left she told him "one day we will meet again, but through a pane of glass". He never forgot that spirit, and one day he happened to see a caricature who was very similar to that girl that had so bewitched his heart. He found this character to be inside a pane of glass.. hidden within a television set, in a format known as anime. And to this day he is entranced by anime, in the hope that one day he and that spirit of water would meet once again.

Archen shown here with his woman bitching at him for random reason #851

Another story says that he's just an ordinary guy that happened to watch Robotech when he was a little kid and has been fascinated with anime ever since... But who'd believe that??

So who is my hero you ask? Didn't ask? Well I'll tell you anyway because everything on this page doesn't really make sense. I would say that Wily Coyote is my hero. His persistence, determination, and inventiveness cannot be matched by anyone. But some would argue that he cannot count because he is an animated character. Okay Mr./Ms. smarty-pants, I'll pick a person then. So what should determine my hero? I figure the person needs to look good, and have incredible abs. So who would this be? Natalie Portman perhaps? I mean I remember watching Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. George Lucas spends millions of dollars on state of the art CGI, big musical score, top of the line actors (who act like cardboard cutouts) and with all of this frenzied action the only thing I said during the WHOLE move was. "Oh My God! Look at those abs!!" when I saw Natalie Portman's midsection. I mean this girl had a six-pack of steel. I still wonder if they didn't like paint those on or something. But here's the thing. I don't recall her having abs like that in any other movies, I think it was a one time deal. Like George Foreman beating Mohamed Ali. Doesn't detract from her achievement, but that does in fact put her on the level of others.

Archen being serviced by one of his many house maids he wishes actually existed.

Lets talk about anime... since this is all supposed to be about anime *cough*. I have a fondness for older titles more than new ones, probably due to nostalgia, but also because I think anime formerly had a sincerity that newer titles tend to lack. I wouldn't say modern anime sucks, but it has changed over time into something less charming. Having said that, I think modern titles are often of higher quality but back in the day you had to be more accepting of the faults and quirks of anime, and just expected less out of it.

Inevitably the question is What's your favorite anime? This is a tough question for me because I've seen a shit ton of anime over the years. So I'll use that excuse for a cop-out answer: I have three favorite titles. For the longest time I said it was the Area 88 OVA but I think that's shifted down the list a little bit. Still love it though. So what bumped this masterpiece out of the top spot?

Aria the Animation. It would take forever to go over all the greatness of this show, and I covered much of it in my review (so maybe read that). It's about three girls aspiring to become gondola tour guides for a replica of Venice. And that's about it. Not the kind of complexity you'd expect me to claim for an anime which has been fairly influential in my life. As a well cherished manga franchise, it was bound to succeed, but the execution of the anime form is truly masterful. What the manga brings in story, the anime accentuates in sounds and especially in the wonderful soundtrack to bring to life a truly heart warming show. Dialog is an odd feature to mention, but wonderfully poetic in Aria.

Distracting his woman from the fact that he broke the computer again for the third time this month.

Since I'm already babbling about Aria, I guess I'll put this in here; I really like the subtle theme of the cycle of life. Akari is the main character, just getting her start as an apprentice and messing up quite often while she experiences the wonders of Neo Venice. From the very beginning, her mentor Alicia is presented as something like a goddess. Beautiful, charming, amazing at her job, she seems nearly flawless from Akari's perspective. Over the course of the show, we see an occasional peek into Alicia's past, when she was still in training like Akari is now. From that view we see how Alicia was always kind hearted but a little spacey with an odd perspective on things, and how those quirks matured into adult qualities making her into the charming woman we see today. The series spans many many episodes, with Akari and her friends slowly growing over the course of the show. By the end we see that Akari will also likely become as amazing as Alicia, but in her own way. What interests me about that is how we see Akari's story as something like a beginning (her arrival) to it's conclusion (Alicia's retirement). But it doesn't start and end with Akari's story. Every person is in the middle of their own story, but we're also in a different part of the story for each person we meet.

The second title I'll mention is Gunbuster. Again there are too many things for me to talk about, but as a giant robot anime, Gunbuster is as good as it gets and there are a lot of exceptional giant robot titles it's competing against. Animation is top tier, with the kind of effort rarely seen put into anime (especially these days), because it's a product of people who love anime and what they're producing, not just making something to collect a paycheck. The production of the animation is something with a lot of care put into how it was animated, not just moving things around the screen, leading to great presentation. Despite the wacky start, the characters grow in very compelling ways.

What I like most about Gunbuster is the integration of science. Yes, actual science in science fiction. I've come to appreciate this much more now, as sci-fi has basically become BS fantasy with lasers and more "hardcore" stuff using time travel like that was anything new (and almost always a disaster for the story). A big plot point in Gunbuster is time dilation, as explained in the theory of relativity. As you approach the speed of light, time slows relative to everything else. This is shown in the first episode when Noriko is dispatched from her training to fight aliens near the speed of light. She's victorious, however returns to earth to find her friend has graduated, married, had a kid and basically not seen her for years. It leads to an odd reunion where her friend she left just a day ago has become distant over years. In fact many on earth have left to fight, but but will never return to see their friends and family; left behind in what is to them a distant past. Gunbuster is a truly passionate anime, which shows through in all aspects.

Lastly there is Combustible Campus Guardress. I especially like this anime, but for odd nostalgic reasons. When I first got into anime, like half the titles seemed to revolve around saving the world from some invasion by demons. The details were always (well mostly) a bit different, but they all kind of played out the same. After watching many many such shows, Combustible Campus Guardress was a hilarious take on the same formula, turning it into an action / comedy.

From a pure action standpoint, it's a great show. Not just in the animation and designs, but especially in great fight chorography, highlighted by crazy attack names. It's a bit perverted, a common feature of anime released as OVA's where they could show stuff not appropriate for TV. Going back to my first point, it has a save the world from demons plot, but always inserts weird jokes at the weirdest times, particularly when it seems like it's finally going to get serious.

Despite not looking like anything special, Love Hina is probably my favorite manga. It starts off like a typical harem comedy romance title like many others. I was however stuck by how the protagonist spends many of the first volumes as a total loser, but then towards the end starts to assert himself and take charge of his life. I really liked that theme and didn't see it coming. The other thing I liked about it is that manga author Ken Akamatsu knowing how to have a lot of fun with his creation which gets really crazy and interesting at times. I was also able to get the rare but very cool bilingual edition for the first half of the series.

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but my second favorite manga is Nana and Kaoru. It's about as close to hentai as a comic can get without sex, and besides that also happens to be centered around S&M. If I were interested in S&M I'd just admit to it, but I can't say that I am... which makes it mysterious why I like this one so much. A nerdy (somewhat creepy) guy named Kaoru likes to collect S&M gear. His childhood friend Nana lives next door and turned out to be a voluptuous hottie. "Stuff happens" where Nana ends up taking part in something almost like a mild S&M session. She discovers all of the pent up stress that had been consuming her had disappears. From then on the two periodically partake in the sessions they call "breathers". It gets interesting when "the rival" shows up in an athletic uninhibited girl named Ryoko. Ryoko thinks it's perverse until she tries it herself. From then on she's always bugging Kaoru for another "breather". Two cute girls competing, where the winner gets to be tied up. I love you Japan! The story is oddly cute like a more typical romance, but captures the tension of horny teenagers fumbling around in forbidden stuff. I guess I like that edginess.

Favorite Games

1PS3 Valkyria Chronicles2008
2PS2 Shinobi2002
3Wii Resident Evil 42007
4ArcadeTetris the Grand Master 2 (death mode)2000
5PS1 Parasite Eve1998
6PC World of Warcraft2004
7PC Tie Fighter1994
8PinballIndiana Jones1993
9NES Metroid1986
10PS2 Ace Combat 4 & 52001
11PS4 NieR:Automata2017
12SNES Star Fox1993
13PC Command & Conquer Red Alert1996

Favorite Movies

11968Once Upon a Time in the West
22004Kamakaze Girls (Japanese)
3197836 Chambers of Shaolin (Cantonese)
41993Groundhog Day
52000Battle Royale (Japanese)
61998Saving Private Ryan
71999Fight Club
82000Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Mandrin)
91961Yojimbo (Japanese)
101972The Godfather
111965For a few Dollars More --
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
121982Conan the Barbarian
131998The Big Lebowski
Diligence in doing his homework

It's strange reading this page as I've rewritten so many times as I've changed. I remember having a lot of pent up aggression, but I've chilled out a LOT over the years. I'm very patient, and unusually honest. My pet peeves are crappy products from China and waiting in line. My favorite pro wresting move is the Camel Clutch. My personality type is INTP. Other interesting facts about Archen: when I get frustrated playing video games, my nose will itch like crazy. If a game gives the option to walk an avatar instead of run, I'll do so if I think it looks cooler. I'm one of those people who reads about some affliction and becomes convinced I've have it - some being pretty severe, although thankfully I don't actually have any. The song I Want Your Love by Chic has a soothing effect on me, making me sedated and somewhat euphoric.

A book which I believe changed my life (for the better) is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you're happy with your life and everything is fine, then good for you. However if you ever get to the point in life where you realize the direction you're going isn't where you want to be, I'd highly recommend reading it. As a self help book, it's not for everyone; and it does require you to believe what it says to make a difference.

© 2002