All About Archen
I don't talk about myself much, but find I often look at the
section on other sites to learn about who made it. Out of the 5 people
that visit my site a year, one might want to know something about me,
so here it is. After years of adding small bits to this page, it has...
Why did I choose "Archen" as an alias? When I first signed up for a Geocities account, I needed a member name. Everything I tried was taken until I tried "Archen". 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. In fact the character's name was "Achren" not Archen - so I ended 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 glad I used that instead of a generic anime related name which was common at the time.
So who is Archen and how did he get interested in anime? As One story goes, Archen was born in a far away land. Although unusually cute, his parents abandoned him to run away with the circus. Archen was taken in by a traveling band of exotic belly dancers where he learned many strange and unusual skills. One day during his travels, he became thirsty. Stopping at a pool of water deep within a forest, he encountered an enchanting spirit of the tiny lake. She spoke to him through the reflection of the mirror like pool, with beauty and elegance quickly capturing 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 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. To this day he is avidly watches anime in the hope that one day he and that spirit of water will meet again.
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 is pretty random. I would say that Wily Coyote is my hero. His persistence, determination, and inventiveness is unmatched. Some would argue that he doesn't count as an animated character. Okay Mr./Ms. smarty-pants, I'll pick a person. So what would determine my hero? I figure the person needs to look good, and have incredible abs. So who would this be? Natalie Portman perhaps? 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 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. Wait, what was I talking about?
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, mostly 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 higher quality. 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
tough for me to answer 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; 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.
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. We are all in the middle of our own story, but also in a different part of someone else's 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. Animation is top tier, with the kind of effort rarely put into anime 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. 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 leave to fight, never to return as friends and family are left behind in 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 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, with the male protagonist being a total loser. But as things progress, he begins to assert himself and take charge of his life. I really liked that theme, and how it slowly builds over the many chapters. I also like how manga author Ken Akamatsu knows how to have fun with his creation, going in crazy tangents. I own the rare but very cool bilingual edition for the first half of the series.
Although embarrassing to admit, my second favorite manga is Nana and Kaoru. It's about as close to hentai as a comic can get without sex, and is centered around S&M. If I were interested in S&M I'd admit it, but I can't say that I am... making it mysterious why I like this one so much. A nerdy (somewhat creepy) guy named Kaoru likes to collect S&M gear (It's Japan, I'm sure these hobbies exist). His childhood friend Nana lives next door and grew into a voluptuous hottie. "Stuff happens" where Nana takes part in something like a mild S&M session. She finds 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.
|3||Wii||Resident Evil 4||2007|
|4||Arcade||Tetris the Grand Master 2 (death mode)||2000|
|6||PC||World of Warcraft||2004|
|10||PS2||Ace Combat 4 & 5||2001|
|13||PC||Command & Conquer Red Alert||1996|
|1||1968||Once Upon a Time in the West||English|
|3||1978||36 Chambers of Shaolin||Cantonese|
|6||1998||Saving Private Ryan||English|
|8||2000||Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon||Mandrin|
|11||1965||For a few Dollars More -- |
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
|12||1982||Conan the Barbarian||English|
|13||1998||The Big Lebowski||English|
It's strange reading this page, having rewritten so many times as I've
changed over the years. I remember having a lot of bottled 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
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, then 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 don't like the direction your life is going, and/or you're somewhere in life that you don't want to be at, I'd highly recommend it. As a self help book, it's not for everyone.