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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman dvd cover Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman dvd Review

Feature-length animated Batman action

Publisher: Warner Bros.

Wed, 5 January 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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I love Batman. He’s one of my favourite characters from comics or anywhere else. There’s just something so flat-out cool about him. He doesn’t have any superpowers; he’s just a pissed off millionaire who has trained mentally and physically all his life so that he can go out at night dressed up as a giant bat and beat the crap out of nasty criminals. Good for him I say.

Outside of the funny books nobody seems to know how to portray the character correctly. There was the camp and goofy 60’s TV series. That show is a good laugh but not the proper dark and brooding Bats that I dig. Then came those movies in the ‘90’s. The Tim Burton original I quite like, apart from Batman having a suit with built in muscles rather than earning them the hard way and his use of guns (something fans know he is dead against). The dark look of the movie is pretty spot on and Jack Nicholson’s Joker rocks. The second film (also done by Burton) isn’t too bad either, despite some pretty lame stuff like those stupid penguin bombs. After that the flicks got worse and worse; the others are all completely awful and not worth mentioning.

However there is another screen version of Batman and, for me, it is by far the best one. That is the one featured in the excellent cartoon from 1992 -95 called (appropriately enough) Batman the Animated Series which later morphed into The New Batman Adventures. Now THAT is the Batman that I know and love. As well as the awesome TV series, which has only just become available collected on DVD, the show/s have had a few spin off movie length specials. And guess what? One of those movies is called Mystery of the Batwoman. Guess what else? This is my review of it! So there, you can stop guessing now.

Written by Michael Reaves and directed by Curt Geda, Mystery of the Batwoman sees Batman trying to solve a mystery involving a Batwoman… sorry, I couldn’t resist pointing out the obvious like that. Seriously though, there is a Batwoman who appears in Gotham city and nobody, including Batman, knows who is under the mask. She seems determined to foil the plans of crime boss Rupert Thorn and his criminal partner The Penguin. She also seems to have little regard for any laws. So Batman gets tangled up in the mess as he too tries to bring down the crooks, while also hoping to discover just who it is in that Batwoman suit and whether she should be considered friend or foe.

The art work here is very stylish and uses the angular characters the show is now well known for. Pretty fluid animation too, nothing up to the standards of a big budget anime, but smooth enough. There are some really great fight scenes and action sequences. There are a few little visual gags thrown in too, like the scene where Tim Drake (Robin) is seen reading an X-men-esque mutant comic. No big complaints from me about the look of the thing, except to say that some of the other Bat ‘toons have looked just a little better than this one does. Aurally everything fits in just fine, you won’t be running out to buy the soundtrack (unless you are a tool) but it serves its purpose admirably enough. The “acting” or voice over work is all top notch as always with the animated Batman stuff.

As for the plot, well I like it, but not as much as some of the other animated Batman stories I’ve seen. But I’ll review those later and talk about ‘em then. The mystery of who is behind the Batwoman mask works quite effectively as a few different suspects are presented. There’s a nice little romantic side story going on with Bruce Wayne and Kathy Duquesne- whose father Carlton is a mobster involved with Rupert Thorn and the Penguin. The relationship helps show the more normal side of Batman/Wayne. The way Kathy has been drawn I think she resembles Halle Berry, but I’m unsure as to whether or not this was intentional. The whole tone of the movie is a bit lighter than some of the other Batman related works I’ve previously seen, but not so much that it loses its edge completely. It makes for a nice change really when grouped with the others.

The only major problem I had with the story is I thought Batman seemed a little slow figuring a couple of things out considering he’s supposed to be a brilliant detective. That and the fact that I’ve never really cared too much about Oswald Cobblepot, also known as Penguin. At the end of the day he is just a short fat dude with an umbrella. Sure the umbrella fires bullets, but even so he’s hardly the most fearsome of villains. The makers of this film are well aware of this (they actually acknowledge it in one of the disc’s extra features) and in order to compensate they’ve added a far more imposing adversary into the mix; the 6’8’’, 350lbs masked monster- Bane! Penguin hires Bane to take down both Batwoman and Batman. There’s a really cool showdown at the end of the movie between Bane and the Dark Knight. Thanks to including the Bane character, the Penguin gets to stick mostly to the business side of the shady dealings and everything flows fairly well.

For Batman and animation fans I can thoroughly recommend adding Mystery of the Batwoman to your collection. There are some reasonable, but rather limited, extras on the disc too, such as profiles of the characters and some interesting “making of” features. Casual followers of Bats could probably give this one a miss as there are some far better ones out there. I’d recommend Batman of the Future: Return of the Joker (which I will review if Justin ever gives it back to me) for one over this. I quite enjoyed it and, since you can pick this up for under twenty bucks now, you can’t really complain about the value.

by: Hillelman

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Tales from Earthsea. Anime DVD Review
Armageddon Expo '07 Report
Le Chevalier D'Eon V1. Anime DVD Review
Manifest '07 Report

Which of these animated shows is the funniest?
The Simpsons
South Park
Family Guy
King of the Hill
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny etc.)
The Flintstones

ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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