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Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie [Blu-ray + DVD]
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie [Blu-ray + DVD]
DVD ~ Elizabeth Maxwell
Price: CDN$ 24.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful...completes the story, May 6 2016
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I enjoyed it...this one the fourth installment of this series. More past memories of Kusanagi so you get to know the character better. Really likes how the end leads up to the puppet master arc of the first GITS movie. But overall I felt less impact than the two movies (2.0 and Innocence) and I did not feel compelled to re-watch this present episode. Still, of the whole Arise arc, this last installment is worthwhile for the bluray library.

Guilty Crown, Part 1 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Guilty Crown, Part 1 (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray + DVD)
Price: CDN$ 89.98
12 used & new from CDN$ 45.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Complex plot and intricately woven themes, March 24 2016
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A lot is packed into this series...a bit of mecha, a bit of Ghost in the Shell, high school romance, sis con, music...Definitely an ambitious project and production. This package includes part 1, and there is no point in getting it without also purchasing part 2. The plot is complex, sometimes unsettling, partly because the complexity is a bit hurried. This is not your usual anime, by any stretch, and probably the most significant message to the audience is the question of whether the protagonist of the show, Shu, deserves your forgiveness (from the audience). It is not a question of whether he is guilty, or succumbs to committing a heinous crime under duress, it's more a matter of whether the good old flaws or fatal flaws of humanity should, in the end, be redeemable, and if not, be pardoned.
Unlike other anime series, our man of the show, Shu, is not a particularly likeable character. I think with great patience and self-restraint, his character is consistent throughout the story, even if he seems very slow or resistant or mentally dull to learn from his own experience or his comrades to change himself. You really get the sense this person seems far too self-absorbed, and this is what he tells you from the very beginning of the story. Whether or not you want to accept that is entirely up to you.
In terms of other qualities, 5/5 for picture, sound, effects, intrigue, music...just mind blowing, but then too much of everything may result in mental indigestion as a side effect. Still, I would certainly want an Inori too, to embrace all my flaws as much as my strengths.

Full set of 6 Kitan Club Gacha Hatsune Miku x Hello Kitty Vocaloid x Hello Kitty ball chain mascot secret enters (japan import)
Full set of 6 Kitan Club Gacha Hatsune Miku x Hello Kitty Vocaloid x Hello Kitty ball chain mascot secret enters (japan import)

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, March 24 2016
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as cute as advertised

Another [Blu-ray]
Another [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 61.83
27 used & new from CDN$ 46.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky and captivating series, Feb. 3 2016
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This review is from: Another [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Surprisingly good! Love the storytelling, captivating clues (is she a ghost or not?) without giving away the secret until you're well into the story. Spooky, with just enough suspense to keep you wondering what is really going on. Had to watch it twice to grasp the nuances, which are internally consistent. Very different story compared to Tasogare girl...of Amnesia (forgot the name now). Detailed art work, masterful lighting creates a wonderfully gloomy, creepy atmosphere. Really really well done. Worth collecting.

So, I Can't Play H: Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
So, I Can't Play H: Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 60.34
22 used & new from CDN$ 41.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Feb. 3 2016
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Fun, charming, consistent storyline. Light and visually enjoyable series.

The Complete Guide to High-End Audio
The Complete Guide to High-End Audio
Price: CDN$ 28.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for the audio enthusiast, Sept. 13 2015
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For a non-engineer, this is very good background reading material, and it's helpful to have a go-to reference book for terminology, and the brief section psychoacoustics is eye opening for those without prior training in audio engineering (who would ever know the Haas effect?). This 5th edition covers a diverse range of products and comments on many of the on-going developments in digital processing and amplification. This is clearly an excellent reference for anyone seriously intrigued by the alchemy of high-end audio. The book isn't going to turn you into an alchemist, but almost all the advice on what to watch out for in making decisions on equipment upgrade is congruent with my own experience, except...

The one advice and assertion that Harley gives over an over again, I'm paraphrasing here, is to test the piece of equipment - any piece that you might want to upgrade, from power condition to cable to whatever - by having it installed in your own system at home and hear for yourself whether it makes the sound better (or worse). Well, I would say most people don't live in a city/area with a home-depot of high end audio around the corner. The audiophile dealerships with a store front where I live (>1 million people) do not carry more than half the brands that I recognize, and certainly not all the combinations of product lines from the same and different manufacturers. How does one possibly expect to be able to try out the many variations and combinations of components at home, however generous and friendly the local audio dealer might be to lend out his gears, in order to refute the exaggerated claims in many advertisements, or to find that optimal bang-for-the-buck combination of components?

Maybe it'd help if the audio equipment reviewers can include more regularly in their recommendations/review comments on what a particular piece of equipment is not compatible or agreeable with...Reviewers just can't expect a regular consumer could spend the enormous amount of time & effort to try out different components before a purchase decision. Most of us have to work more to pay for the high end equipment!

One startling discovery I learned from the book, and wish I had known sooner, is that "absolute polarity" is not merely an issue for the playback system, but also for the production process. Apparently, all the recording, mixing, maybe final processing-to-print steps mix up the polarity in a way not strictly assured, so the recording on the CD or in the download may itself have the wrong polarity!! WTF!! (I read books only on Weds, Thurs and Fridays.) No wonder some album sounds more "acoustic" than others, and I can almost predict which of my albums have the wrong polarity (wrong as to against-my-ears). Example: Evanescence's My Immortal CD is much easier on the ears with polarity inverted on playback (can be done in JRiver or through some DACs with the polarity inversion function). Not even hi res downloads are immuned to the problem. (NB: not sure if the problem applies to playback through headphones & in-ear monitors.) Apart from room acoustics, this "absolute polarity" problem is to me (and not everybody) the single most important understanding I've gained about audio from Robert Harley. Thanks man!

Mpow Streambot Y Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Handsfree Car Kit with Hands-Free Calling, Music Control for iPhone 6s and more
Mpow Streambot Y Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Handsfree Car Kit with Hands-Free Calling, Music Control for iPhone 6s and more
Offered by Patec
Price: CDN$ 45.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward...cheap and it works!, June 18 2015
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Was skeptical with the technology, but surprisingly simple and connects with my iPhone 5c just fine. The Bluetooth connection may take one or two tries, but generally it will work (definitely want to make sure of it before setting off). Seems to have no problem playing 96kHz/24bit FLAC files through the AmpliFlac app. Sounds way better than those radio stations that only play compressed music.

Dog & Scissors: Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
Dog & Scissors: Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Marina Inoue
Price: CDN$ 69.74
9 used & new from CDN$ 50.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining comedy..., April 26 2015
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Really cute story, though it's hard to tell if the writer wants to explore relationship between a dog owner and her dog, or a dog owner and the soul of another human being. The bluray box cover is suggestive, but fan service is relatively minor. The humor is wacky and fun, and the characters do show a bit of development which is nice. A very entertaining comedy.

Kalita Wave Dripper filter 185 185 / 2-4 persons] 50 x 3 box set (japan import)
Kalita Wave Dripper filter 185 185 / 2-4 persons] 50 x 3 box set (japan import)
Offered by 100WAYS ship from JAPAN
Price: CDN$ 15.36
101 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice filter, April 26 2015
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The 185 is a larger filter good for 2 people. The 155 is really only good for one. As before, excellent service.

Haibane Renmei: The Complete Series (Anime Classics)
Haibane Renmei: The Complete Series (Anime Classics)
DVD ~ HAIBANE RENMEI: COMPLETE BOX SET
Price: CDN$ 38.68
17 used & new from CDN$ 25.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow, but a heartwarming story of self discovery and acceptance, Aug. 13 2014
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Although not an amine with intense emotions or drama, this series is intriguing and heartwarming in its own way, really quite unique. It's very slow. Description of the plot and character development can be found elsewhere...briefly the story centres around a few characters in their after life - lost souls perhaps - but they are given a dwelling and a simple social structure separated from the real world and the classical vision of heaven. There they develop friendship and trust, and attempts to make self discovery, as they do not have memories of their former life.
The first half (about 8 episodes) is really quite boring with character development (don't expect any action), and the emotional range of the characters are very restrained, almost confined in a way. Much is implied, not said out loud. You kind of have to imagine yourself being reborn as one of them as a haibane, and you can feel the unspoken angst and uncertainty of what had happened in one's past, and make peace with yourself. Quite abstract, but that is the refreshing aspect of it. The series illustrates the internal conflict between the need for social bonding and trust versus isolation and self-reliance, some developmental psychology at work here.
The art work is relatively simple, not rich in details or complicated by CG. The atmosphere definitely gives a rustic feel, which I think reflects a traditional hand drawn approach to anime. I didn't feel engaged enough by the early episodes, which I watched over weeks, but I became captivated and finished the last 8 or so episodes in one evening. I can't say I love it, but I will definitely watch the whole series over again to look for those delicate moments and gradual build up of trust and self recognition.

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