Well, it’s my birthday today, one more step into my early 30’s and wouldn’t you know that I had to spend the morning at the Department of Public Transportation to renew my drivers license. Talk about raining on my parade! But…I suppose it’s my own fault that I waited this long and knowing that I wouldn’t have the chance to get down there for awhile and that I didn’t want to putter around without a valid I.D. I figured I’d better hunker down and get the visit over with. Fortunately, there was some birthday luck involved and I managed to get there right as they opened and get right back out within in ~ 30-minutes! That’s a new record for me as I can easily recall 2-3 hour affairs there in years past. Here’s to not going back for at least 4 more years!
My family actually surprised me last weekend with a birthday gathering knowing that we all had a busy weekend coming up and there I was able to enjoy their company, eat some cake, and I even managed to walk away like a bandit with a few items that I really needed, including: a new electric shaver, a suit for church, and a bicycle helmet so that I can start riding again properly.
I also treated myself to a few comic and game related items that I’ve had my eye on for awhile. First up, I picked up Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 8 “Shades of Death” (about 6 books left to make that collection complete as I’ve got most of the recent TPB releases) as well as the Usagi Yojimbo Role Playing Game. I don’t plan on actually doing any role-playing with the book, but I didn’t want to miss out on all the Usagi-related information which includes history on Usagi’s own feudal Japan, character profiles, official timelines and the like. Plus all of the great Sakai art and the 8-page back-up story “Hebi,” which had previously been found only in the limited edition Book 7 HC collection. So I’m grateful for that.
[Edit: According to Steve Hubbell, Taisho at the Usagi Yojimbo forum, “‘Hebi’… was reprinted in book 11: Seasons. It was combined with the story ‘The Courage of the Plum’ from the first Art of Usagi Yojimbo book from Radio Comix, and an additional four pages of new story material connecting the two stories, and then re-titled ‘Snakes and Blossoms.'” Thanks for the correction!]
Now, on another subject, one of the things that I haven’t had the chance to discuss much at the blog as of yet is my life-long interest in anime and, fairly recently, manga. The reason for that being that I took a little break from both, by and large, after being burned out on so much of the new stuff that I’ve just found really unappealing over the last couple of years. But what I did do during that break was to sit back and enjoy some of the classic stuff I love all over again, series’ like Ah! My Goddess, Lupin the 3rd, and favorite “super robot” shows like Mazinkaiser & GaoGaiGar. I enjoyed them a slow pace and it rejuvenated me enough to get out there and enjoy the stuff a little more than I had been doing in the past year or so. I still prefer the older stuff, and will likely continue to concentrate on that the most, but there are at least a few new series and movies that I’m looking forward to as well, so, in the spirit of all this I treated myself to the first Vizbig volumes of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, which are hefty collections of the first several volumes of each of the individual manga series. These things weigh in at 550+ pages and at a little over $15 that’s tough to beat. I’m fascinated by Akira Toriyama’s art (which, funny enough, wasn’t always the case) and these volumes give me the chance to pour over it in sharp black and white while finally having the chance to see what all the hub-bub is about where the legendary Dragon Ball series is concerned. I’ve hesitated in the past to get drawn in to the story as it was just one more thing to follow and I really wasn’t sure that it would appeal to me, but Toriyama’s contributions to my other favorite franchises (Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, etc.) are just too significant for me to not to check these out. Particularly the earliest stuff. And while I’m on the subject of of Toriyama, I had been hankerin’ to pick up Blue Dragon (Xbox 360) since it’s initial announcement some 2-3 years ago thanks to his artistic involvement, Hironobu Sakaguchi’s direction, and the fun concept of the game, but things got a little tight financially there for awhile where my budget for video games was concerned and I figured I had better hold off. Turns out that was a good decision because I managed to pick up the game for ~ $8 a few days ago and I really look forward to finally jumping into the game and experiencing it, particularly in Toriyama’s three-dimensional world. Everything together only managed to run me about $60, so not too shabby at all! But with all that attention on me I had better go out and do something for somebody else quick! Fortunately, Father’s Day is just around the corner…