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August 16, 2010


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August  16, 2010-One thing the Brickster’s never been able to figure out is the appeal of ronin characters in chanbara films to Westerners. You know, those ill kempt smelly lazy unemployed drunken slobs who ostensibly exist to right the wrongs of the evil rotten dictators of the Tokugawa Shogunate. We’ve seen ‘em glorified in film after film, from Mifune in Yojimbo to the crapload of 47 Ronin films released over the years. Even the classic ‘Seven Samurai’ would be more properly called ‘Five Ronin, a Samurai, and a Farmer’.

Of course, anyone that knows jack about Japanese history knows that the Tokugawa Shogunate wasn’t the absolutist power it’s popularly depicted as and most of the power lay in the hands of the individual han (which is why the Shogunate ended up bein’ toppled so easily durin’ the Bakumatsu). The Shogunate did much to improve the lot of commoners, farmers, and merchants, enrichin’ them many times over while the wealth of the samurai dwindled greatly over the 250+ years the Tokugawa ran things. Over 250 years of peace, prosperity, and cultural development-that’s what the Tokugawa brought to the table.

Ronin, on the other hand, weren’t quite the Robin Hoods of Japanese history. Most of ‘em were the problem rather than the solution, bein’ a large source of crime. Peasants, merchants, and townspeople were routinely leeched off of by ronin who found extortin’ money from them lots easier than workin’ real jobs. The yakuza crime cartels were formed in large measure to protect the commoners from ronin. And of course, with the recent research done on the 47 Ronin we know they were little more than a group of surly thugs who capped a largely blameless Lord Kira in a medieval drive-by. Not to mention every time you see a ronin in a flick, you’re likely to see them indulgin’ in all night sake binges that they don’t have the money to pay for.

OK, to recap briefly, ronin are:

1) Smelly
2) Unemployed
3) Alcoholics
4) Disrespectful Of Authority
5) Lazy
6) Dirty
7) Thieves
8) Extortionists
9) Drifters
10) And I ain’t even includin’ the fact that lots of them like Musashi were often spotted in the company of young boys

Now, coincidentally enuff, we had a similar group of men that shared these exact same characteristics here in America. In the good ol’ USA, we called our ronin ‘hobos’.

These days we call ‘em bums or to be PC, homeless or employment challenged. With one major difference, the two groups match up perfectly. Who can’t picture Mifune’s character in Yojimbo sluggin’ down a bottle of ripple while loungin’ in a boxcar of the B & O Railroad outside Pittsburgh? The 47 Ronin’s leader Oishi Kuranosuke shopliftin’ porno books from the 7-11 while his 46 cohorts distract the clerk? Ogami Itto with a ‘Wil Sord Trane Fer Fuud’ sign around his neck at the highway exit ramp, or Zatoichi (who ain’t really a ronin, but close enuff) spritzin’ yer windshield and wipin’ it off with a dirty rag while yer stopped at a red light?

So what’s that one big difference? Well,

11) ronin tend to walk around armed and dangerous, killin’ lots of people at a moment’s notice. True, that ain’t to say hobos can’t be psychos, but most of ‘em don’t go that far.

Strangely enough, we have a large group of people in the US that fit this expanded description too. They’re called serial killers and/or mass murderers. Again, one can draw comparisons between Oishi Kuranosuke and the 47 Ronin to Charles Manson and his Family of followers. Lady Snowblood and Lizzie Borden-separated at birth? The Zodiac Killer seems a perfect match for Kurama Tengu. And Tange Sazen could be Ed Gein’s long lost brother.

So, to get back to my original point, why do ronin attain such hero status among a lot of Westerners? Well, as any shrink will tell you, people identify with fictional characters that they see themselves as bein’ like. So, in effect, there seems to be a large class of chanbara fans who are ravin’ homicidal sociopaths, which seems to jibe with certain posts on the subject I’ve seen here on the SA. It also explains while so many of ‘em make an attempt to emulate their heroes by halfheartedly indulgin’ in sword trainin’. The only thing that stills puzzles me is how most ronin are rail thin but the ronin fanatics I’ve seen are usually tippin’ the scales at a rather hefty tilt. Hopefully future scholars on this subject will follow the Brickster’s trailblazin’ efforts and solve this final piece of the puzzle.

9, 2010-The Brickster finally got ahold of a DVD copy of ROBOGEISHA. This little effort was put together by the same folks who made MACHINE GIRL, one of my personal faves, so I figgered it was gonna be good. I mean, if there’s two things that represent Japanese culture to most Westerners, it’s geisha, robots, samurai swords, and schoolgirls. OK, that’s four things, and I didn’t include the highly overrated discipline of Zen, but if you have them all mashed together in the same movie it’s gotta be a winner, right? As in most movies of this type, the plot is just an excuse to hang special FX on. Yoshie is the sister of a highly popular geisha, Kikue (although she must not be too popular, since when she’s kidnapped no one seems to notice, not even the madam of her okiya). As with many younger sisters, she bears the brunt of her sister’s ill will and scorn-but darn it, ya know, they still love each other, because that’s what family does. Yoshie tags along when Kikue is hired to perform for Hikaru (the President of a huge steel conglomerate). In a strange twist of fate, Yoshie shows herself to have unconscious superhuman martial arts skillz when Hikaru is confronted by a homicidal ex-girlfriend. And wouldn’t you just know it-she’s just the type of super soldier Hikaru and his father have been lookin’ for to enlist in their army of geisha assassins! They kidnap the two sisters and force them to fight each other with the winner bein’ allowed to survive. Gosh, I wouldn’t dream of ruinin’ the results of the fight for everyone, but they both end up survivin’ and become part of the Geisha Assassins. In competition with each other, the girls allow themselves to be increasin’ly turned into machines. There’s a buncha fights, a huge bomb threatens to blow up Mt Fuji, and everyone dies.

OK, so much for the borin’ stuff. The real fun’s the wacky weapons the gals are endowed with of which the lamest has to be ‘wig napalm’. It does come in handy when pitted against breast machine guns, though. The gals have swords that emerge from their armpits when they strike sexy poses-and from their mouths as well, not to mention chainsaws (well, it’s really a rotary saw blade, but close enough). The girls can conceal not one, but two of
Hikaru’s bodyguards inside their shells-the Tengu twins, who hose down foes with their breast milk from hell. The Brickster doesn’t believe the film’s producers fed these poor gals at all durin’ filmin’-take a look at the two painfully thin gals on the DVD box above. Course, I guess they hadda be thin to fit both of them inside another regular sized woman. The Geisha also dress up like schoolgirls, usin’ their meat cleaver socks to great effect. There’s one scene that sums up the film perfectly-a yakuza thug is walkin’ down the road and casually mentionin’ to his two goons (who are dressed exactly like two of the Lords Of Death from Shogun Assassin, even down to their weapons) how he always dresses up like a samurai for weddin’s. What better excuse for a samurai versus schoolgirl free-for-all? Well, I certainly can’t think of one.

When Yoshie realizes that
Hikaru is evil and turns against him, the gloves come off and the girls deploy their butt weapons. If you’ve ever wanted to watch two women shoot shuriken outta their ass, well, look no further. And that’s just the warm up act. In one of cinema’s greatest moments, the two Tengu twins face off with Yoshie in an extended sword duel-usin’ the swords that come outta their butts! Yoshie deploys hers as well and the three gals bend over, waggle their cute little derrieres, and it’s duel on! You’d think it couldn’t get any better.

But it does! The steel company’s HQ (built to look like a traditional Japanese castle) comes to life and begins to tear through Japan! It’s a classic kaiju rampage complete with music that would have been right at home in a Godzilla film. And whenever the HQ destroys a buildin’, the crumblin’ structure spews forth a blood geyser! Now THAT’S class. And Yoshie turns herself into a tank to take on the monstrosity.

In the end, though, it isn’t the fancy weaponry that spells the downfall of the evil
Hikaru. It’s the power of love and an appeal to one’s higher conscience. Yeah, that always works. I bet if we had tried that on the Japanese in WWII we could have shortened the Pacific Campaign by three years.

On most levels, Robogeisha didn’t disappoint. But somehow, it was lackin’ that air of unbridled goofball insanity that Machine Girl had, or the bizarre and surreal aesthetic
of TOKYO GORE POLICE. And judgin’ from the film’s Japanese trailer, they were tryin’ to market it as a ‘new type of feelgood girl’s film’…one that they can ‘laugh and cry over’ ! Errrrr…….somehow, the Brickster kinda doubts this film was very high on the ‘must see’ list for Japanese gals. Not that that’s a bad thing, since it left that many more of them free to go check out one of my manly classics, like the upcomin’ film adaptation of the video game ‘MAEDA KEIJI, SENGOKU STUD’. Now THAT’S a tried and true feelgood film for Kogal and OL alike-reserve yer tickets now! Anyway, despite the fact that at one point Robogeisha is cut in half, a buncha grannies and grampas get machined gunned, teenagers have their faces burned off by acidic breast milk, and a schoolgirl is graphically impaled by a sword through her nether regions, the film just seems too happy. Not what most gorehounds and slasher movie fans want. And there’s no real nudity-I mean, if yer gonna drench the screen with blood, ya might as well throw in a bit of T & A as well. It just ain’t right not to. Still, just because it didn’t reach the lofty heights of Machine Girl ain’t no reason to not go check Robogeisha out.

Speakin’ of which, you guys have boatloads of reviews on deck from the Brickster! I’ve got ‘ONECHANBARA 2: ZOMBIE KILLER VORTEX’! ‘TOKYO GORE POLICE 1.5’! ‘THE MACHINE GIRL REMIX’-includin’ the new short film where the Machine Girl’s pal who was killed in the first movie returns complete with a machine gun that comes outta her butt (this seems to be a common theme in Japanese films these days)! And last but certainly not least, the ‘ULTIMATE MACHINE GIRL DVD COLLECTORS TIN’! A full three discs devoted to this important and seminal film experience! It’s almost too much to take in at one sittin’, but ya know the Brickster’ll do it just cause he loves ya all so much!

August 2, 2010
-Everyone knows that the Brickster’s fav’rit video game franchise is Splatterhouse. This is the game that involves the eldritch Terror Mask turnin’ a regular guy inta a pumped-up musclebound slaughter machine that makes Bane from Batman look like a wuss. Uppin’ the ante are scores of the most evil creatures this side of Hell, all of which are pummeled, torn apart, eviscerated, and rendered into bleedin’ sacks of meat by protagonist Rick Taylor. And this was in the old school 16 bit versions on the T16 and Genesis-you can just imagine what the reboot of the franchise (due out in October) will look like. I get a little thrill of anticipation whenever I think about it!

Anyway, even though the game ain’t out yet, some of its merchandisin’ tie-ins are. One of them is so indescribably kewl and awesome that I can’t even describe it. I’m talkin, of course, about these Splatterhouse shoes produced by Globe:

A Terror Mask for the feet! These babies are just like the shoes that Rick Taylor wears in game, down to the spatters of blood that result from wadin’ through the busted up carcasses of festerin’, oozin’ creatures. And they even have little baby Terror Masks sproutin’ from them! They’re the ultimate in podiatric badassery. I love these things! I haven’t had anythin’ like ‘em since the pair of Batman and Robin Keds I wore as a toddler. They make ya feel ready ta send a royal butt-kickin’ to anythin’ that crosses yer path-say, the Evil Boreworm, the guy at the conbini that always shorts yer portion on yer bento box, or some smart aleck that makes fun of your shoes. Well, ready to send a royal butt-kickin’ to anythin’ ceptin’ your wife. If Ko catches me wearin’ these (much less finds out what I paid fer ‘em), the punishment doled out to the fiends in Splatterhouse will look like a Sunday School picnic in comparison.

July 26, 2010-A quick Sengoku quiz-see if you can pick out the name that doesn’t belong in the followin’ list:

Tokugawa Ieyasu
Hojo Ujimasa
Chosokabe Motochika
Oda Nobunaga
Uesugi Kenshin
Maeda Keiji
Takeda Shingen
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Date Masamune
Mori Motonari

Pretty obvious, ain’t it? Virtually every name on that list is an important Sengoku historical figure, a daimyo that had an important role in determinin’ how the unification of Japan played out. The name that doesn’t belong is that kabukimono pretty boy slacker samurai, Maeda Keiji. Keiji has virtually no historical significance-about the only thing he accomplished of note was actin’ as the rearguard for the Uesugi army at the Battle of Hasedo. And when ya think about it, as lame as that was, it’s made even less impressive by the fact that the Uesugi could just as easily lost the battle and ran off without him. But despite his insignificance, Keiji’s almost always included among the pantheon of Sengoku ‘big names’ and has a rep as a fighter rivaled only by other non-producers like Miyamoto Musashi and Sanada Yukimura. Look at any series of Sengoku based books, toys, figures, video games, or even coffee cans, and you’ll see some version of Keiji holdin’ court. Heck, the Rekishi Gunzou series of history books even gave the guy his own special edition with the accompanyin’ quote ‘samuraipunks here to stay'! Even though Obenjo Kusanosuke swears by his copy, my question for years has been-why? Why glorify some goofy non-entity when there are plenty of other samurai far more deservin’?

Well, this week I got my answer. The Brickster found hisself with some time on his hands when Ko decided to go out shoppin’ with her mom, so’s I started lookin’ through Ko’s video game collection to find somethin’ to kill time. Just about anythin’ woulda done-anythin’ that involved ninja, stealth killin’, strategic samurai warfare, aliens, things gettin’ blown up, monsters, decapitations, bloodshed, fast cars, or chicks with big hooters. Difficult as it was to believe, she didn’t have any of the classics featurin’ these video game staples-just a buncha otome games featurin’ gay men pretendin’ to be intrested in romancin’ women. Then I found this:

This bein’ ‘Maeda Keiji-Sengoku Stud’, an ‘Adult Sengoku Action Game’. What the heck?!?! I booted up this aberration and followed the adventures of Keiji as he progressed from layin’ down the pipe on one woman after another in a most…err, graphic fashion. I ain’t sure if this game was produced for Japanese men lookin’ to get ‘high score’ vicariously through Keiji, or for Japanese women puttin’ themselves in the place of Keiji’s sexy playmates. At any rate, the game really honked me off, mainly because we weren’t allowed to include anythin’ like that in ‘Brick McBurly-The Video Game’-I told the Studio merchandisin’ guys we needed to go on the XBOX 360 and not the Wii, but of course no one listens to me. So instead of boffin’ video hotties the virtual Brickster runs around bouncin’ off the head of funny animals, usin’ non-lethal weapons on goofy cartoon bad guys, and drinkin’ soda pop to power up instead of the hard stuff they sell down at the Lucky Star Tearoom.

But anyway, now we know the sekrit behind Keiji’s seemin’ly inexplicable popularity. Never underestimate the impact horny women can have on pop culture icons. Speakin’ of which, Ko totally denied knowledge of the game or how it got into her collection, but that little smirk on her face told me a diff’rent story.

July 19, 2010-Every once in a while a movie rolls around that's almost GUARANTEED to be a big crowd pleaser. And even though it ain't one of mine, "Samurai Avenger" looks like it's one of 'em. It's got everythin' you need! Buckets of gore, blood, decapitations, senseless violence! Zombies! Modern day cowboys! Topless dual sword wieldin' Dragon Ladies! A blind cowboy Zatoichi samurai! Droolin' insanity! More nudity! Sexual imposition! Mindless revenge! More boobs! More Zombies! Goofy humor! Really, what more do ya need outta a film? It'll be hittin' the theaters in Japan August 21st and DVD on the 27th (a sure sign of a must see film!). And almost as good as "Samurai Avenger" is this amateur film one of my pals at the Third Moon posted that pits ninja vs...well, you'll just haveta see fer yerself. Do I have the scoop on the best films around or just what? And I ain't even watched my new copy of "My Name Is Bruce", starrin' Bruce "Teh Man" Campbell, yet!

July 12, 2010-As you all know, I'm a big supporter and vital cog of the world's best English language source on pre-modern Japanese history and samurai-the Samurai Archives. The SA has lots of offshoots related to it-their Facebook page, Twitter, a bookstore, a merchandise shop, the new Yakuza Film Rundown, and of course the Samurai Archives Citadel message board that plays host to the Brickster's Yashiki column. But maybe the most impressive side project is the Shogun-ki blog, where some of the board's top members and not-so-hot-but-connected ones like Tatsu conduct interviews with famous authors, perfessers, and historians, review the latest historical films and TV shows in depth, critique books both popular and scholarly, visit historical sites, and examine some of the more intrestin' issues connected with Japanese history. Recently the SA's Shogun Kitsuno pulled up some stats on the most popular and least popular articles as measured by his RSS feed.

Now, was the most popular article an interview with a fascinatin' well spoken professor of history like Karl Friday? Maybe the book review of "A Dragon's Head and a Serpent's Tail" that delivered a royal ass-kickin' to the ego of Kenny Swope? The visit to Kyoto's Shinsengumi themed restaurant? The expose of the false Terada-ya? The roastin' of Mark Dacascos's lame History Channel Musashi special? Maybe the in-depth examination of Pepsi Shiso? Or even one of Tatsu's movie reviews that never, EVER cover the films of his best pal (that bein' me)?

Hell, no! The SA Shogun-ki's most popular article was none other than "An Interview With Brick McBurly"! It just goes to prove that even the folks in America who are completely unfamiliar with my body of work (and for that matter, my body, although I've done my best with the ladies to rectify that) recognize quality when they see it. Although Koyori says that if they were familiar with it, nobody would have bothered readin'-I'm still tryin' to figure out what she meant by that. Anyway, this is a great jumpin' off point for the Brickster to use in tryin' to swing a deal to have his films released in America, or linin' up some lucrative endorsements. So far, the best I've been able to do in America was nabbin' a big box of Frito-Lay products that it was rumored I tried to trade with a prostitute for sex, but they couldn't prove anythin' and it didn't happen that way anyway. No, really, it didn't.

July 5, 2010-Things have been kinda quiet and solemn in the Brickster's Yashiki, and the Brickster hisself hasn't went out for a night on the town in almost-wow, it's been almost three days or so. My family was takin' note of my unusually subdued behavior and I thought for sure that Ko's dad would take the opportunity to have me committed to a mental hospital and then get his daughter a quickie divorce while I was inside. Still, without havin' Corky the wonder dog around to pal around with at the end of the day it was all I could do to tend to the basics-showin' up for work, givin' a magnificent performance, comin' home, and puttin' a smile on the face of my gorgeous, compassionate, brilliant wife with some of the Brickster's trademark lovin'. It was awful! But I guess the strain musta showed to Ko, since she went out and picked up a little somethin' at the pet shop for the Brickster on the same day we got Corky's ashes back from the funeral home. So, let me intraduce ya all to my new pal, Cuddles McBurly!

Yeah, that's right-I didn't get to pick out the name, since I woulda chosen somethin' cool like Sabertooth or Reaper. Cuddles is a Japanese woman's idea of a good name (ie, sickenin'ly cutesy), and even worse, both the Brickster's own saintly gray haired mother and mother-in-law have approved of the choice. Ko's already gone out and bought her a complete wardrobe for all seasons-even a schoolgirl uniform, fer crissakes, but I gotta admit I did think that one was kinda funny. Poor animal! Next thing ya know she'll show up with pink ribbons attached to her ears. At any rate, Cuddles loves the Brickster and I love her back just as much. She's the cutest and friskiest furball ever seen, and as much of a chick magnet Corky was, a tiny puppy dog (all one pound eight ounces of her) that looks like a Teddy Bear or cat is even MORE effective at drawin' chicks into her orbit than he was. Yep, I can tell we're gonna be the best of friends, as long as I can keep Ko from goin' too overboard on the 'dress-up' aspect of things.

June 23, 2010-Today the Brickster sits down to write with a heavy heart. Early this afternoon my little pal of fifteen years, Corky the Wonder Dog, passed away. I’m told the little guy was runnin’ through the house and stopped at the foot of the stairs. He looked up to where the Brickster usually is hangin’ out, yelped, and collapsed. By the time I got to him, he had passed away. I’m not ashamed to admit I bawled like a little girl, or even Naoe Kanetsugu. So, hopefully you’ll all excuse me fer gettin’ all maudlin and stuff. The little fur-bearin’ runt of a Pomeranian might have been the world’s biggest pest and at times a royal pain in the butt, but in a good kinda’ way. He was always there at the end the day to give a happy greetin’ to the Brickster when he got home from the Studio, even if this did tip off Koyori when I tried sneakin’ in at 3 AM. As he got older, he began to lose his eyesight and tended to want to stick close to us all the time. This included pawin’ open the door when we were usin’ the bathroom, runnin’ up two flights of stairs to see what was happenin’ in the bedroom, or openin’ up the front door to come trottin’ out into the front yard when we were outside.

Corky was also the ultimate chick magnet, as I’ve mentioned before. His fluffy adorability when combined with the Bricker’s manly manliness formed a one-two punch that left most women helpless to resist. I’m firmly convinced that it was the cutesy-pie charm of ‘pup-chan’ that convinced Ko to marry me. I can still hear her delighted cry of ‘Kaaaaaaaaawaaiii koinu!’ when seein’ him for the first time. He also had his repertoire of routines to impress the humans-besides his aforementioned penchant for openin’ doors, there was dancin’ around on his hind legs, wrestlin’ with his ‘baby’ (a stuffed rabbit that miraculously survived fifteen years of bein’ paired with him), runnin’ at breakneck speed in a figure eight around three open rooms like he was greyhound racin’, and the classics like playin’ ball, shakin’ hands, and swingin’ by the Studio to drive the Brickster home at the end of the day. He was the perfect early warnin’ system, always lettin’ us know when the mailman was at the door or scarin’ away yakuza loan sharks lookin’ to collect. Just havin’ Corky lyin’ there watchin’ you with a goofy grin on his face was enough to make ya forget whatever troubles had been part of the day.


Every dog owner has their favorite silly story, so here’s mine. Early on, when takin’ the little guy fer a ride, we’d put him in the back seat to give him room while Ko an’ I rode up front. Bein’ a curious little guy and all, Corky would routinely stick his nose between the two front bucket seats to keep tabs on what was goin’ on. One day (even in Kyoto traffic) the Brickster actually got up to about 50 KPH before havin’ a gypsy cab abruptly cut him off. I had to stand on the brakes and out of the corner of my eye saw a large ball of fur go flyin’ off the back seat, bounce off the back of Ko’s seat, and land in the footwell. Before I could wonder if he’d been hurt, Corky’s little head popped up with an expression that said “What in the heck was that?!?!?!?!”

But now, there’s no grumpy dog that’s impossible to budge from under the bed in the mornin’. No dog to buy deli-sliced roast beef for at the supermarket. No dog to get underfoot and stare at you longin’ly when you’re eatin’ somethin’. No dog to break Pupperoni’s into four equally sized pieces for to make it easier for him. No dog to lick the peanut butter off the bread knife when I’m through makin’ a sammich. No dog to share the ottoman with. No dog to insist he sit in the front seat with me in the car while Ko had to sit in the back, while seemin’ to say “Where we headed today, pal?”. And it’s killin’ me.


June 21, 2010-As I’ve explained before, much like Japanese soldiers refused to surrender and took to the jungles on islands throughout the Pacific after World War II, diehard supporters of the Shogun refused to accept defeat even after Tokugawa Yoshinobu ceded control of the government back to the Emperor in 1867. Most of ‘em along with their descendents ended up gettin’ killed durin’ WWII when mass murderer Curtis LeMay decided to see how many enemy non-combatants he could slaughter via firebombin’. However, since Kyoto managed to escape the fiery death, the cadre of Shogunate supporters here managed to stay pretty constant. Understandably, they keep a pretty low profile these days. They prefer to bide their time (much like the Kakure Kirishitan
did durin’ the Edo period), waitin’ for just the right moment when Japan gets sick of this whole democracy thing and goes back to a government headed up by a barbarian-quellin’ general. I’ve heard many of ‘em are gettin’ a bit impatient and have thrown their support behind ‘retired’ Emperor Go-Chikatetsu, who wishes to reclaim his rightful heritage and will lead them all to victory. Just as soon as he finishes off that quart bottle and takes a nap in his favorite corner of Kyoto Eki. But for the most part, sightin’s of ‘em are rarer than Bigfoot-occasionally they’ll don kimono and the two swords (I’m talkin’ the Shogunate diehards here, not Bigfoot, although that would be pretty badass, wouldn’t it?) to rumble with Loyalist descendents on special anniversaries (which, as you can see by the pics on my Kyoto page, I was lucky enuff to stumble across).


But seein’ ‘em dressed for battle-now THAT’S almost unheard of! Which brings us to this pic I snapped yesterday at the local conbini. I thought for sure that the end times had arrived and that the Diehards were makin’ their big move and stockin’ up on provisions. But that wasn’t the case. Nope, it turns out this was a member of a completely different splinter group-the Nobunaga survivalists. These guys claim that the whole Honno-ji thing was a setup and that Nobunaga, takin’ a page from his idol Elvis’s book, faked his own death to live out his life in peace. They claim that the stories of him bein’ an insane bloodthirsty immortal demon and god-cursed sodomite are true and that he lives to this day, keepin’ them busy fillin’ his unholy cravin’s (although it seems old Oda’s the one doin’ the fillin’). As this particular cadet told me, “I have no time to talk-Lord Oda demands his Cheez-its!”. Trailin’ the Oda vassal at a distance, the Brickster saw him enter a Mr. Donut as well, so it must be Oda. After all, everyone who’s read Hikonyan’s account of the Battle Of Okehazama knows about Nobunaga’s weakness for ‘those sugary rascals’. Longtime readers will recall that the Brickster reported on a rash of Oda sightin’s in Kyoto a coupla of years ago, so now the whole thing makes sense. He’s even been bold enuff to appear in TV commercials where, ironically, he ‘comes out of the closet’. I’m told what brought the normally reclusive Oda back into the open was bein’ dropped from the cast of Sengoku Basara 3 and replaced with Ishida Mitsunari. I guess havin’ the title of “Most Overrated Samurai Not Named Musashi” has Teh Tenma Maou pissed-he won’t stop until he gets the number one spot.

June 14, 2010-Woot! Team Japan has just defeated the mighty juggernaut from Cameroon 1-0 in their first game in World Cup Soccer. Ya know what that means, don’t ya, guys? That’s right! Even if like me ya don’t give a rat’s ass about soccer, there’ll be plenty of drunken, vulnerable babes celebratin’ the victory and just lookin’ for a great way to cap off their evenin’. You’d be downright unpatriotic if you didn’t immediately head down to the local karaoke hangout or sake shop and help them out. I consider it my civic duty to put the ‘Lucky’ in the ‘Lucky Star’ tea room for some fortunate OL who can report to her pals the next day that she scored an even more impressive win than Team Japan, mountin’ (yuk, yuk) a victory against incredible odds. The Brickster’s hopin’ that his self-sacrificin’ ways might pay off by runnin’ into his newest heartthrob, former race queen and newscaster Catherine Kobayashi. And my heart ain’t the only thing throbbin’. There’s just somethin’ about an English-spoutin’ Japanese woman in a tight-fittin business suit that sets my soul afire. She's a gal after my own heart-seems she fell off the train platform and down between the train and the tracks, just like me. Course, she wasn't three sheets to the wind when she did it.


June 7, 2010-It’s now June, which means the American Major League Baseball season is in full swing-and that the Brickster’s overdue fer his annual address on the sorry state of baseball broadcastin’ in Cincinnati. Everyone knows that much like sportswriters who are hired primarily on their ability to write rather than based on their knowledge of sports, sportscasters are hired primarily on their ability to talk non-stop for several hours without regard to whether they actually know what they’re talkin’ about (makes ya wonder why more women aren’t sportscasters-or I guess ya’d call them BROADcasters). Nowhere is this more evident than the Cincinnati Reds with their broadcast team of the odious Marty Brennaman and his troglodyte lackey Jeff Brantley. These two assclowns are stuck somewhere in the early 1900’s where the bunt was a major offensive weapon and puttin’ a guy with a .270 on base percentage in the leadoff spot was good strategy. It’s all about makin’ contact and not strikin’ out, dammit, even if you never get on base, because it ain’t about whether you produce or not, but how good you look when you’re not doin’ it (this philosophy of losin’ baseball is known locally as ‘Martyball’). Their obsession with smallball, givin’ up outs to gain nothin’ more than a base, and makin’ contact at all costs (even when it usually results in a double play) borders on the insane. Now, the news ain’t all bad-the Reds front office has cut back on the number of games that Brennaman and Brantley handle, givin’ a lot of them to Jim Kelch, who’s a real pro. He keeps the focus on the game where it belongs despite the best efforts of whichever moron he’s saddled with for the night tryin’ to drag the center of attention back to their childish antics. When you listen to a game broadcast by Brennaman and Brantley, you may not gain any insight into the game (if they even bother talkin’ about it), but you’ll sure be brought up to speed on Brennaman’s latest golf game, his favorite courses, his hatred of the Chicago Cubs, what someone else in the booth is wearin’ that night, and Brantley’s extensive lovin’ ventures into the world of food porn. I’ve addressed most of this in past columns, so fer today I’m just gonna focus on how even when they DO talk about baseball, they’re laughably clueless.


Last month (May) the Reds had an excellent month that saw them move ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals into first place in the NL Central. This was attributable to the fact that their schedule consisted primarily of games against two of baseball’s worst teams, the wretched Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros. When they played winnin’ teams, they predictably had a losin’ record. However, Brennaman and Brantley saw things differently-they were winnin’ because the team had shifted their focus away from hittin’ and towards speed, defense, and pitchin’. Yes, the Reds had finally seen the light of Martyball and now the world was their oyster. Except for the fact that Brennaman and Brantley were dead wrong. I’ll give ‘em defense-even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile, even though B & B praise the defense for the wrong reason. The Reds defense is much improved over that of two or three years ago, even though they have a substandard shortstop, an error prone and agin’ third baseman, a hot dog second baseman, and a first baseman with a scattershot arm.


But pitchin’? B & B spout long soliloquies about the wonders and talents of the Reds first rate pitchin’ staff and how they have led the team to the Promised Land. Because pitchin’ is 90% of baseball, ya know-damn it, it is (well, no-really more like 30-35%)! I wonder what team they’re watchin’, because out of 16 National League teams, the Reds are 13th in pitchin’. 13th. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if you’re in the bottom 25% of a group, you’re not particularly good at what you’re doin’. But that doesn’t stop B & B-listenin’ to Brantley gush over guys like Daniel Ray Herrera is comical as hell. Brantley loves to tell listeners how he “admires this kid’s spunk-he isn’t afraid of anyone”. Of course, Herrera should be very, very afraid-he’s routinely hammered, usually right after Brantley has sung words of praise for him. So obviously, pitchin’ ain’t what’s drivin’ the Reds.


How about team speed? Well, no-the Reds are one of the worst baserunnin’ teams in the league-their stolen base percentage is awful, they’re continuously gettin’ picked off and thrown out tryin’ to advance the extra base, routinely forget how many outs are in an innin’ (runnin’ full tilt on fly balls with less than two outs), end up with two guys on the same base, and fail to hustle on routine plays. Brandon “Gametime Burger” Phillips is probably the best example of this. He’s continuously not payin’ attention when he’s on base and gettin’ picked off, engagin’ in reckless aggressive baserunnin’ that sees him thrown out on a regular basis, doesn’t hustle (more on that later), and is a barely break even base stealer (even though B & B praised him for bein’ 4 for 7, which is actually hurtin’ your team). Team speed means nothin’ if it doesn’t convert to success, and the Reds baserunnin’ as a whole has been a negative. But B & B love that aggressiveness-when a Reds player is thrown out, it’s a given that one or the other (or both) will spout “You hate to see an out made, but you sure have to love that aggressive baserunning”. That’s a lot like the Japanese sayin’ they hated the fact that their country was laid to waste and their cities destroyed in WWII, but they sure loved their army’s aggressiveness.


And as far as B & B downplayin’ offence in the team’s success-well, the Reds were 1st in battin’ average, runs scored, on base percentage, home runs, sluggin’ percentage, on base plus sluggin’, and pretty much every other major offensive category. Think that might have somethin’ to do with the team winnin’? Well, it sure ain’t pitchin’ or speed.


Brennaman and Brantley up the ante by introducin’ one of the biggest “BS Factors” in sports by creditin’ the Reds success to the fabled “veteran leadership” of one Scott Rolen. The Reds aren’t hittin’ well because they have talent in that area-no, it’s because wise old veteran Scott Rolen has set an example for all of them by showin’ them the way the game was meant to be played and impressed them with his work ethic. Oh, please. That veteran leadership sure didn’t seem to help when he was on the Blue Jays or bein’ a disruptive influence in the Phillies or Cardinals locker rooms. I think the best evaluation of the effect Rolen’s “veteran leadership” has had can be seen by the behavior of the aforementioned “Gametime Burger” Phillips. Phillips was in the newspaper a coupla’ weeks ago lovin’ly expoundin’ on Rolen and sayin’ how great it was to have a guy like him around to show the way and demonstrate a commitment to the game that raised the playin’ level of all of his teammates. Just to demonstrate this, Phillips goes out and fails to run out fly balls botched by the defense not once, but twice, in two consecutive games. Yeah, Rolen really inspired Phillips to give his all. Or maybe Phillips just saw talkin’ about Rolen as another chance to get quoted in the paper. It’s funny in sports-winnin’ teams always seem to have plenty of ‘veteran leadership’ and ‘chemistry’, while losin’ teams never do. I guess that means by October when the Reds are sub-.500 again, Rolen will have mysteriously lost his leadership abilities. He’ll probably be on the DL by then too, but that’s another story.


So, sad to say, baseball broadcastin’ in Cincinnati is still the realm of bottom feeders Brennaman and Brantley. Thankfully, with the Brickster can enjoy Reds baseball by simply listenin’ to the opposin’ teams broadcast of the same game. While I sure hate missin’ out on Brantley talkin’ about barbecued ice cream and Brennaman heapin’ abuse on his latest target, it’s more than balanced out by the brain cells that ain’t bein’ slaughtered by bein’ subjected to them.


May 31, 2010
-For those of you that just can't wait ta get yer weekly dose of McBurly Monogatari, here's some great news! El Brickatore's now been brought on board the Samurai Archives Shogun-ki blog! Hey, what better place for me ta expound on more serious subjects-the pressin' issues of the day in Japanese history and entertainment? Ya know, writin' about what works best in a co-star-silicon boobs or the real thing. Explorin' just how rotten and evil Oda Nobunaga was. Speculatin' as to why the Ii chose the wussiest of animals, a cat, as their Guardian Deity-and why US Army units have in turn adopted the wuss-lovin' Ii as theirs. And University film geeks that think everyone that enjoyed Kill Bill is a racist. In fact, the latter's gonna be my very first topic! Until then, ya kin check out the Brickster's Shogun-ki profile here.

May 24, 2010
-Recently my pal Tatsu over at the Samurai Archives put up a post on the Shogun-ki concernin’ the History Channel’s new ‘Dragon’s Triangle’ special. Here’s a link to it if ya ain’t seen it already. Among other things it says there was a flyin’ saucer that washed up on shore in Japan in 1803 with an alien gal on board and that the Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281 were foiled by typhoons created by a sekrit underground alien base. Now, for some reason unbeknownst to me, Tatsu seems to think this is all straightforward BS. I can’t for the life of me figure out why, though. My pals at the Weekly World News corroborated every bit of information the show provided and even added a few things it didn’t bring up. Now, the Weekly World News is gold-they’ve provided irrefutable proof that Michelle Obama is havin’ an affair with space alien P’Lod and that Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had a gay marriage, so this is child’s play. Despite the efforts of government big shots and the rich and famous to shut the mag down, it’s still hidin’ out inside the covers of its former rival, The Sun.

Anyway, back to the original point. Most of you know all about Takezaki Suenaga’s Mongol Scrolls, a pictorial history of the two invasions prepared by the greedy samurai Suenaga who used them to petition the Kamakura bakufu for rewards for his acts of bravery (never mind that they seemed to be more along the lines of acts of stupidity). Most of ya know that certain things were added to, altered, and erased from the original scrolls over the centuries as they were restored, copied, and otherwise meddled with-Thomas Conlan gives the details in his book “In Little Need Of Divine Intervention”. But one thing’s for sure-the original scrolls are in the safekeepin’ of the Imperial Household Agency, which means ain’t none of us that stands a prayer of ever gettin’ to lay eyes on ‘em. And why is that? Because then the truth would come out…

Yes! It’s true! The Brickster knows a thing or two about gainin’ access to places where he really shouldn’t oughta be, and through the graces of a young gal at the IHA archives that turned out to be a big fan, I found myself checkin’ out the honest to goodness, pristine, untouched Mongol Invasion Scrolls. Don’t buy that crap about how they’ve become faded over the years and suffered water damage, etc-they’re every bit as sharp as when they were drawn. HERE’S the real reason why they don’t want you to see them:

That’s right-solid evidence that the undersea alien race of Seatopia (rarely glimpsed outside of Gojira movies) took part in drivin’ out the Mongol assaults. This, of course, is one of the more famous parts of the scroll because of (in the top part) what was assumed to be a Mongol bomb explodin’. But in all the copies available to the public, the babe in the saucer has been excised, leavin’ a noticeable blank spot that stands out like a sore thumb. It all fits! That ‘Mongol Bomb’ was actually headin’ the other way (see the exhaust?)-it’s a guided missile bein’ controlled by alien babe-see those stage three boosters droppin' off? Suenaga’s horse is rearin’ in fear of the flyin’ saucer that just cut in front of it to protect Suenaga. The Mongols are pepperin’ the Seatopia cruiser with arrows in an attempt to bring it down (as if). If you’re familiar with the idiotic way Suenaga acted durin’ both invasions, it’s obvious that alien intervention is the only way he could have survived. So let the truth be known. If some egghead quiche eatin’ member of academia wants to cast aspersions on my research-well, Mr. Smarty-pants, just get access to the original scrolls and check fer yerself! Yeah, I didn’t think so. The Brickster has invaded your quarter acre of land and kicked yer butt right offa’ it.

Now, the next mystery to be solved is why the Seatopians didn’t lay waste to the American fleet when they got near to Japan in WWII. I’m in the process of doin’ some heavy research into this matter. I think it might have somethin’ to do with them not wantin’ to bail out the lowlife Loyalists that overthrew the bakufu and ended the samurai era.

May 17, 2010
-Today Ko was outside workin’ on our garden, and I was helpin’ out by stayin’ outta her way and admirin’ the way her perfect butt filled out her gardenin’ shorts when she was bent over and tendin’ to things. It made the Brickster think about plantin’ somethin’ of his own in Mother Earth, so to speak, but this bein’ outdoors in a Japanese neighborhood I’d have a better chance bein’ crowned King of the Wicker People. Anyways, watchin’ her work was tirin’ me out-I told her she was gonna give herself a heart attack if she kept at it, and to set a good example, I went inside, opened up a frosty cold one, and kicked back for the ‘Shintaro the Samurai’ TV marathon.

So’s about 20 minutes later, Ko bursts into the house screamin’ out my name. Usually that’s a sound I love hearin’ from any woman, but this time it sounded a bit different. She was breathin’ hard, had her hand over her heart and her head was droopin’ and cradled in her other hand. I thought for sure she really had suffered a heart attack. Then she tells me in a quaverin’ voice that there’s a snake in our garden. Since we’re Buddhists and not Christians, I figgered this didn’t mean our relationship was on the rocks, so bein’ a manly man I went out to confront the scaly evil serpent in defense of my fair maiden. Said serpent turned out ta be about as big around as a pencil and about a foot long. It was kinda cute, actually. But Ko told me to get it out of our garden-I guess to her it looked a lot like the evil kaiju Hagfat. Since I am, after all, a peace lovin’ Buddhist, I didn’t want to kill it, so I hooked it with a pair of pruners and dropped the little guy in a trash can. Checkin’ online I saw it was a common brown snake that eats earthworms and slugs and is completely harmless.

Now, the
problem was, what to do with it? I thought of a million uses for it, most of which involved prankin’ someone. Ko seemed to be mesmerized by it. She kept goin’ over to the can and lookin’ at it sadly. We couldn’t arrive at a decision, and I was pretty sure we didn’t have a bin fer recyclin’ snakes in the house, and wasn’t sure what day they’d be picked up anyway. So we put a dish of water in there for it and decided to sleep on the matter.

Except Ko got up at 4 AM and let him loose back into the garden because she felt sorry for him. Ain’t that just like a woman? Since I’m sure everyone’s heard the Brickster’s repertoire of trouser snake jokes already, I’ll just say this. Women seem to feel the same way about snakes as they do about penises. At first they’re scared and just want them to go away. Then they find out that they’re really not so bad. Finally they look forward to seein’ ‘em and playin’ nice. The Brickster’s spittin’ cobra is darn happy they do, too.

May 10th, 2010
-Ya'd think
with the Brickster havin' mastered the world of the big screen, the small screen, the internet, and even the world of pop music with his hit singles, there'd be no more worlds left to conquer. But wait-there's still the world of radio! Well, at least podcastin'-it's pretty much the same thing, 'cept you don't have fifteen minutes of commercials for every five minutes of program. Anyhoo, a certain website is preparin' to go public with its online podcast and has extended an invite to the Brickster to contribute a regular segment to its broadcasts. Heck, it'll be like havin' me sittin' right next to ya at your computer! If yer a guy, though, take your hand off my leg, pronto. You can even burn the podcasts to CD and take me along for the ride on your way to work-hey, and stop at the next corner at the conbini, willya? But if you have any questions for yers truly or suggestions for weighty topics for me to discuss (like the pros and pros of breast enhancement for women), make sure to send 'em along. I'll have more info on the podcast when it goes public.

May 3rd, 2010
-I suppose with the movie "Kick-Ass" playin' on big screens everywhere it was just a matter of time until we started gettin' would be superheroes runnin' around the urban landscape. And no country in the world is more susceptible to that kind'a crap than Japan. Just think 'Zebraman' or any of the after-school shows where kids are superheroes. Yep, it's obvious Japan needs a hero-what they got was Super Gaijin:

For you anime geeks and those of you playin' along at home, here are the English lyrics to the theme song:

Everybody in Japan, don't worry
It's O.K., because I'm a Gaijin
From now on, I'll save you
I'm a Gaijin ... cool

I don't understand Japanese
I want to speak English
From now on, I'll teach you
I'm a Gaijin ... cool

I've been all over Japan
Everybody says they like me
But I don't pay attention
I don't really like nato

I'm strong because I'm a Gaijin
Japanese people are delicious rice snacks
Super Gaijin is right here
In Japan ... Tochigi prefecture is famous

me, me, me
Gaijin, Gaijin, Gaijin
save, save, save you
super, super, super cool

I came from abroad
I'm a gaijin, nice to meet 'ya
I like samurai
I like bonsai plants

Before I came to Japan, I watched manga
I thought that was cool
And so I came to Japan
I'm a Gaijin, nice to meet 'ya

Everyday, everyday I enjoy Japan
Everywhere I hear, "Save me!"
If that's the case,
Look! Here is a Gaijin

Don't worry, I'm here
Don't worry, Gaijin's skills
are numerous, so I can't lose
Japanese people and Gaijin ... fly!

me, me, me
Gaijin, Gaijin, Gaijin
save, save, save you
super, super, super cool

Now, as you might imagine, the Brickster is none too pleased about this turn of events. Mainly cuz I didn't come up with it first. Anyone who cooks up a scheme like this is deservin' of my respect, and while it ain't quite up there with 'naked fat guy swims in the moat at the Emperor's Castle', it's still a modern day classic. know, Super Gaijin looks a lot like Nagaeyari at the Samurai Archives, especially when he's dancin'. I wonder? Could the mild mannered kofun and language scholar Nags be nurturin' a sekrit identity?

April 26, 2010
-As a special treat just for readers (well, and the readers on the SA, and anyone else who got the press release), here’s an excerpt from the shootin’ script for episode 1:

Brick finishes the incantation and in a puff of smoke, eleven more Hanzos appear. They all have on high-tech day-glo ninja costumes using different colors and roman numerals corresponding to their lineage on the back.


Brick, that trick NEVER works!

Ah, c’mon, hon. We all know this is entirely Seimei’s fault.


 For no apparent reason, a man sized rabbit wearing soiled hakama, carrying two swords, and smelling of sake appears amongst them.

Hate to break it to ya, doc, but you ain’t scheduled to appear until Season Four. So get lost, willya?

The rabbit glumly hangs its head and accompanied by studio security shuffles offcamera muttering drunken curses to itself.

Fool! Our Lord desires to acquire the secrets of time travel. Hand over that scroll now, and I promise your death will be an easy one!


I don’t think so, bub. There’s that whole ‘in the wrong hands the sekrits of time travel could prove disastrous’ thang. They need to be in the hands of someone with enough wisdom, perspective, and good judgment to use ‘em-like me.

Koyori and Seimei exchange eye rolling looks of dismay at this bit of BS.


And while we’re at it, give me that woman. She would provide a most suitable plaything for those long nights in the ninja village….


Pal, it ain’t like I own her or anythin’. She’s here because she wants to be-provin’ that she ain’t just gorgeous, but brilliant, too.


If you won’t hand them over willingly, then we’ll just have to take them by force!

All 12 Hanzos ready their weapons and strike fearsome Ninjer poses, each one with a different esoteric ninja killing tool.


Brick turns and looks straight into the camera
This is our third season-ya think they’d have caught on by now that this ain’t gonna work.

There’s a blur of on screen motion and Brick is suddenly wrapped head to foot in chains.

Course, there’s always the chance they ain’t been watchin’….

Now, get the girl!

The ensuing fight is not seen but the results are telegraphed through Brick’s facial expressions and grimacing along with a generous helping of graphic sound effects and screams. There’s a short silence that’s followed by the sound of a melon being crushed and a look of ‘male sympathy pain’ on Brick’s face.
Koyori enters the shot and cuts Brick’s chains with one stroke of her naginata.

Not bad, babe. Even though you were strikin’ with your arms and not with your body on Number III. And didn’t this take you a little longer than usual?

Well, there were eleven of them…



Wonder what happened to the Big Cheese? But it sure was thoughtful of him to leave his spear behind.
Brick lifts up the spear, hefts it experimentally, and then slings it over his shoulder. He’s found a new toy.

That’s the mystical spear Sainenjiyari. I’d be careful with that if I were you.

Brick turns to address her and in a perfect Three Stooges tribute, the wildy arcing spear knocks out Hanzo III, who has just returned to consciousness.

 Hey, it’s me. Why, it couldn’t be in more capable hands. But for now, let’s get outta here and seal up this cave…


OK, I figures if we drop a boulder from here that oughta take care of blockin’ the cave entrance. (switches to stage whisper) Seimei, has that fake boulder from the prop department shown up yet?

Seimei produces a clipboard and flips through several pages of budget estimates.

On our budget? I’m afraid not. Do you know how much fake boulders cost?

Brick moves offscreen and then reappears rolling a ridiculously huge boulder.

Never mind. We’ll just use a real one.

Brick pushes the boulder off the cliff.

Bombs away! And that’s that.


Hanzo hears a sound like a cartoon version of incoming artillery fire. He looks up.


The boulder rapidly begins to close and blot out the sky.


Hanzo’s terrified eyes bug out from above his half mask Just before impact-


Now, me hearties, it’s on to the capital for us!

What’s a ‘heartie’?

As the group’s continued conversation begins to fade, a large ‘splat’ is heard from off camera, the screen shakes, and a huge cloud of dust is propelled into the shot from below.

So I ended up with the girl, the spear, the scroll, the goofy sidekick, and perfect hair to boot. It might not be a fairy tale endin’, but it’s good enuff fer me.

The ending credits roll over the shot.

Just before the final fade we hear some unintelligible dialogue from below, which is conveniently given subtitles:

This isn’t over! I’ll get you for this!

April 19, 2010
-Hey, everyone! Finally it’s here-all thirteen episodes of Abarenbo Gaijin Season Three are in the can and awaitin’ yer viewin’ pleasure (this fall, that is, exclusively on the Studio’s Samurai Action Productions cable channel). The Brickster returns as his own bad self along with returnin’ cast members Koyori McBurly as Warrior Shrine Maiden Koyori and Monsai Nomura as the time displaced onmyoji Abe No Seimei. Straight from Abarenbo Gaijin-The Movie and appearin’ on a regular basis will also be Aruga Kosaku (the ghost of the Captain of the WWII Superbattleship Yamato), a character created entirely through the use of CG. This season, the weekly recurrin’ foe will be not one, but TWELVE Hattori Hanzos! As always, the main bad guys will bookend the season by bein’ the showcase of the first and last episodes, and a different Hanzo will make a cameo every week in the remainin’ twelve. And just for the guys in merchandisin’, the Brickster gets a brand new super-weapon…Hanzo’s fabled spear Sainenjiyari! From the official press release, here’s the complete episode listin’:

1) The Ego Ninja Clan-Known as the most arrogant band of ninja with feelings of entitlement in the land, the Ego Ninja clan set their sights on Brick’s Shingon ‘Time Travel’ scroll. When the group unleashes their flunky Hattori Hanzo to steal it, the combination of mystical ninjer power and Brick’s stupidity results in Hattori Hanzo I through the XII ending up in the same time period-and all looking for the scroll. Costarring Shmou Kosugi as the Hanzos.

2) Public Enema #1-it’s 1594 and Ishikawa Goemon is robbing the wealthy citizens of the Capital blind. As it turns out, Seimei’s the spitting image of the master thief. He’s hauled in and scheduled to be executed. Can Brick stop laughing long enough to clear Seimei’s good name before the gentile onmyoji is treated to a fleshy enema by his cellmates and then boiled alive by the Taiko?

3) Kawabungajima-Looking for a great vacation spot, Brick recalls that historian Karl Friday called Kawanakajima an island during the course of a History Channel interview (BRICK’S NOTE-Yes, he actually did). When he hears that fellow sake aficionado Uesugi Kenshin plans to go there and deploy his water wheel, that seals the deal. Brick packs up his surfboard and heads off, finding himself in the middle of a pitched battle between the Uesugi and Takeda.

4) Ichi Meets The Three Legged Swordsman-when Brick decides to romance the blind traveling musician Ichi, he’s unaware that’s she’s a master swordswoman and the daughter of the legendary masseur/gambler/drunkard Zatoichi. Giving her his unnecessary protection in an attempt to impress her with his manliness, it’s up in the air who will kill Brick first-the kabukimono gang, Koyori, or Ichi.

5) Her Majesty’s Secret Servicer-Brick’s Great-Great-Grandfather, Popeye McBurly, has been sent by his lover Queen Victoria of England on a sekrit mission to recover a prized stolen tea set from Choshu extremists. That’s what Popeye claims, anyway. The jolly jack tar’s antics after deserting the English fleet threaten to escalate into an international incident when he joins Brick in thoroughly scouring the Yoshiwara inside and out in an effort to uncover the stolen goods. Will the duo’s rendition of ‘Camptown Races’ ignite the powderkeg that is Bakumatsu Japan? Featuring Brick in a dual role as both himself and Popeye.

6) The Mirth Spider Tribe-As a favor to Seimei, Brick sets out with the legendary warrior Raiko (Minamoto no Yorimitsu) to pacify the Earth Spider Tribe on the northeast frontier of Tenth Century Japan. Being a typical male and unable to follow simple directions, Brick instead ends up on the tropical island paradise of the Mirth Spider Tribe-a group of scantily clad gorgeous women addicted to playing practical jokes and performing early versions of Three Stooges routines. They’re women who actually have a sense of humor, something virtually unheard of in the regular world. Can the siren call of these temptresses lure Brick away from his mission of returning to his own time?

7) O-Jiihad-When Koyori’s uncle, the famous calligrapher Chiba ‘Sharpie’ Musashi, covers the outside of the Jesuit Church in Azuchi with derogatory graffiti he’s caught red handed by Father Phatazz (played once again by Stephen Seagull). Brick and Koyori must rescue the rascally old codger before he is driven insane by the Jesuit’s attempts at converting him.

8) The Miyako Hillbillies-Oil tycoon Saito Dosan has hit a huge vein of bubbling crude, and his relatives have advised him to take his newfound wealth and move to the capital-Miyako, that is. Courtiers…sake bars. Together with his daughter No, redneck samurai son-in-law Oda Nobunaga, Oda’s sister Oichi, and the family’s pet chimp Hideyoshi, Saito moves in next door to Brick and Koyori. The goofy Oda, unsure of whether to become the Shogun or a fry cook, takes offense when Brick develops a hankerin’ for Oichi’s ‘critters’. Only time will tell if Oda gets treated to a heapin’ helpin’ of Brick’s foot up his back passage.

9) Big Shot-Master marksman and womanizer Saika Magoichi of the Saika Mercenaries blows into Doju, and the town turns out to be not big enough for him and Brick. Brick, being a Westerner, naturally owns dozens of guns and knows how to use them, but they were all left in the future. When the big showdown occurs at High Hour of the Horse (or is it Rat? We can never keep those two straight…), what chance does the unarmed Brickster have of emerging victorious? Costarring Taira Kiyomori as Henry VI.

10) Naka’d Up-It isn’t until after Kiso Yoshinaka’s been killed at the Battle Of Awazu that his mistress, Tomoe Gozen, finds out she’s pregnant with his child. Her day is further ruined when she finds out from Brick that not only does no one in the future believe she existed, but she’ll be the subject of a hack author’s embarrassing fantasy series. The formerly mighty warrior goddess is reduced to a blubbering, weepy shadow of her former self and it’s up to Koyori to restore her into a large breasted, ass kicking machine.

11) Kondo-San-Brick hits upon the idea of peddling ‘Taiko-enz’ prophylactics door to door in Bakumatsu era Kyoto. Not only does this make him a small fortune, but it’s a great way to meet chicks as well. Before long, every woman in the city looks forward to ‘Kondo-san’ knocking at their front door. But not everyone’s happy-Brick’s new nickname leads to a case of mistaken identity with Kondo Isami, the leader of the dreaded Shinsengumi. Will the Shinsengumi come knocking on Brick’s back door looking for revenge, or will the wily gaijin’s friend from Shochu han, the mighty Kuraku’d Tengu, save the day? Brick reprises his role as Kuraku’d Tengu from the TV movie of the same name.

12) He’s Dai Man-The loathsome, bloated kaiju Hagfat threatens to crush Edo under its bulk and tiresome rhetoric. Brick knows there’s only one man capable of saving the day, and for a change it’s not him. He enlists Koyori’s aid in entreating the great kami Daimajin to battle the corpulent and self righteous shambling monstrosity. Will even the stone god’s fabled Ten Foot Pole be enough to straighten out the hate-filled beast?
With a cameo by Ishikawa Raizo, reprising his ‘Flaming Rider’character from the series of the same name.

13) Hogen’s Heroes-Despite his protestations that “I don’t even KNOW these @$$holes!”, Brick is caught up in the sweep of prisoners in the wake of the Hogen Disturbance. He’s cast into the high security Imperial Prison #13 to await his sentence. Luckily, the prison’s commanding officer is the buffoonish Director of the Imperial Stables of the Center, Koroneru Kurinku, who’s much more at home in a linked verse competition or sipping sake with courtesans than he is at enforcing rigid discipline amongst the prisoners. Will Brick be able to engineer a mass escape from the prison before his head is forfeit? More importantly, will he be able to survive without women for that long? Co-starring Shimura Kon as Kurinku.

Season Ending Movie: Cheaper By The Dozen-All twelve Hanzos, having failed miserably on their own in the first thirteen episodes, decide it’s time to team up and take out Brick once and for all. They unveil their secret weapon-the kunoichi Hattori Hanzo the 69th, seductress supreme who has never failed to get her man. Brick is captured when, confronted by the female ninja, all the blood rushes from his head to…well, you know, and he passes out. Unless Seimei can come up with some onmyoji magic that is good for more than winning free drinks, things look bad for the Brickster.

Pretty darn sweet, huh? But wait-there's more! Next week we'll have an exclusive script excerpt from episode one!

April 12, 2010
-Most of you already know that Google finally moved from Google Pages to Google Sites a few weeks ago. The Brickster’d been dreadin’ that day for months (it was originally scheduled for last June) after hearin’ horror stories of how the move screwed up any number of other sites. But it turned out to be not so bad-there was a small loss of formattin’, the video and audio files disappeared, and a few pictures dropped into the black hole of the net as well. After learnin’ how to code video files and playback devices properly, there basically wasn’t anythin’ even someone like my own bad self couldn’t fix. And I’m happy to announce that all of the primary pages of the site have now been properly reformatted with the missin’ photos and videos restored. The site looks a lot darker these days, too-I miss the 50’s retro look the old site’s home page had along with bein’ able to use different backgrounds for each page. But otherwise, there’s only one thing missin’ from the old site-that bein’ the first few bars of the “Abaranbo Gaijin” theme that played when you accessed the home page. I was able to code that into the page, but for whatever reason it caused the page to take forever to load, so I ended up omittin’ it. Even that little white tub’a goo and resident fink Hikonyan fixed his part of the site. All that’s left now is to add a few pics and vids back to some of the archive pages and everythin’ll be back to normal.

And in even bigger news, “Abarenbo Gaijin Season Three” hits the airwaves after the crumblin’ economy had forced us into a one year hiatus! Sure, you had the hit feature length theatrical movie to tide you over from last year. But now we’ve got thirteen brand new episodes and a two hour season-endin’ movie! The Brickster’s got a brand new weapon and a new recurrin’ foe-Hattori Hanzo the First through the Twelfth of the Ego Ninjer Clan. You’ll also see the Mirth Spider tribe, Tomoe Gozen, Ishikawa Goemon, samurai historian Karl Tuesday, Zatoichi, my ancestor Popeye McBurly, Kondo Isami, Saito Dosan, Oda Nobunaga, Oichi, Saika Magoichi, Colonel Kirinku of Hogen’s Heroes, and so much more. We’ve even got has-been actor Stephen Seagull reprisin’ his roll as the Jesuit Father Phatazz! And for you giant monster fans, Brick enlists the help of Daimajin to battle the loathsome, bloated kaiju Hagfat! Damn, what a lineup! Koyori (Leader of the Shrine Warrior Maidens) and onmyoji Abe No Seimei return in their signature roles, and the Brickster’s new pal from the theatrical release (the ghost of
Aruga Kosaku, captain of the WWII superbattleship Yamato) phases in fer occasional cameos. We’ll have an episode listin’ and more details in the next couple of weeks.

April 5th, 2010-Last week, the Brickster saw an intrestin’ post by his pal Tatsu over at the Samurai Archives. It featured a buncha items that brought the famous daimyo and generals of the Sengoku into the world of pop culture. There was stuff like cell phone hangers, figures included with soft drinks, dancin’ instructions, and even cosplay. My favorite of the bunch was this CD filled with tunes belted out by (among others) Oda Nobunaga, Kuroda Kanbei, Takenaka Hanbei, Oichi, Azai Nagamasa, Chosokabe Motochika, Ishida Mitsunari, Naoe Kanetsugu, Sanada Yukimura, Tachibana Muneshige, Mori Motonari, Date Masamune, and Kato Kiyomasa. I decided to buy this bad boy and give it a spin. My copy seemed to be missin’ the bonus track you got when pre-orderin’-“Can’t Sit Down” by Mori Ranmaru and the Shudos. I've heard it's almost, but not quite, as laugh inducin' as the 47 Ronin legend.

After listenin’ to the CD, I was struck by the different approaches that the Japanese and Americans have in regards to their national history. In America, historical figures, especially politicians, are treated with an excessive amount of deference. In Japan, pretty much any figure from their past short of an Emperor is fair game for any number of crazy applications. One of Japan’s unifiers, Oda Nobunaga, is commonly portrayed as a supernatural evil bein’, some sort of Demon King. Another, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, is often shown in the form of a monkey. The current “Ryomaden” Taiga drama showin’ in Japan has led to Ryoma EVERYTHIN’, from tissues, snacks, and noodles to video games, T-shirts, and footwear-most of which forum member Dash now has lyin’ around his house. Can you imagine a US President bein’ treated this way? Well, actually, I could see someone goin’ the demon route with George W and Dick Cheney, and I remember seein’ Dubbya toilet tissue in one of those gag catalogs. But generally, stuff like that just leads to outrage and calls for action by people with too much time on their hands. In America, could there ever be a best sellin’ video game showin’ Abe Lincoln runnin’ around Civil War battlefields, carvin’ up Confederates with his terrible swift sword while freein’ slaves and crackin’ jokes? Or Abigail Adams showin’ the boys how it’s done in the Revolutionary War? Franklin Roosevelt toolin’ around in a kitted-out futuristic wheelchair flyin’ the Stars ‘n Stripes, blowin’ the Nazis to hell and puttin’ the fear of God into the Japanese? Well, if there was, I’d buy it, but you can be sure it would raise a huge outcry. Think how pissed women’s groups would be by havin’ Florence Nightingale or Susan B. Anthony become a gigglin’ big boobed, saucer eyed beauty queen in a way too small cosplay nurse’s costume/stripper’s outfit. But yet, the Japanese do this stuff all the time, and nobody has a second thought about it. How many American cartoons and comics feature historical figures? Not many, but in Japan they’re countless.

I like the Japanese approach-they’re makin’ history fun, engagin’, and accessible for their young people. And it works! There’s a huge wave of History Girls that have become involved in the study of Japanese history the last couple of years because of Taiga dramas, video games, and Brick McBurly films. The average Japanese these days is more interested in serious history than your average American because of all the pop culture stuff and merchandisin’. It seems counter-intuitive…that in order to increase serious study, you first have to get goofy. But that’s just another thing I love about Japan. That and them gigllin’, big boobed, saucer eyed History Girls dressin’ up as Oichi, Nene, and Kunoichi.

March 29, 2010
-Last week saw the first licensed DVD release of one of the Brickster's shows outside Japan. It was the boxed set of "Abarenbo Gaijin Season One" and was released in Sweden, of all places. I didn't know how the Swedes would take to it, but future releases in other countries were dependin' on this, so's I was hopin' and prayin' to the kami. And damn if it didn't work, beyond my wildest expectations-getta load of this vid that my agent Obenjo forwarded to me.

McBurlyMania seems to be even bigger than the "Shintaro The Samurai" TV series was in Australia back in the 1960's! I'm lovin' it! It's gotta be all due to all those hot blonde haired blue eyed babes with behemoth hooters that act in those Swedish Erotica vids. The Brickster speaketh the universal language of love, and you know these Nordic goddesses are wantin' to check out my skill with the samurai butaniku sword. I can't wait to cash in on all this, make some personal appearances, and cuddle up to my fan base before the furor dies down. After all, even Bat-mania only lasted a coupla years.

March 22,
2010-Now that the weather’s turned warmer and spring trainin’s windin’ down in preparation for baseball season, the Brickster thought it’d be a good time for an update on Yoshida Eri. Eri, as you’ll recall, is the teenage knuckleball pitcher (she’s now 18) who last year became the first woman to pitch in professional Japanese baseball. Eri ended up pitchin’ in 11 games for the Kobe Cruise 9. After the season, Eri pitched in an exhibition against the startin’ lineup of the Hiroshima Carp (members of Japan’s Central League, the Japanese equivalent of the American and National Leagues in the US). In this November ‘gimmick’ game, Eri would be given the win if she could hold the Carp to less than two runs in an innin’-and that she did.

Eri then came to the USA to play in the Arizona Winter League for the Yuma Scorpions. The AWL features a high level of play as the teams are made up of some of the best prospects from all the teams of the National and American Leagues. The high point of her time there was pitchin’ four innin’s of shutout ball against Team Canada and gettin’ her first pro career win. Early this March, Eri even had the chance to meet her idol Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox (Eri had taught herself the knuckleball from watchin’ video of Wakefield). She’s been offered a professional contract from the Chico Outlaws (managed by Garry Templeton and havin’ former MLB star pitcher Mike Marshall as their GM) of the Golden Baseball League here in the US.

Now, what could be better than a cute gal who loves baseball? If she brings along beer and donuts, she’d be perfect! I’d love to see Eri-chan’s butterfly pitch take her all the way to MLB and burst the egos of many a swell-headed millionaire ballplayer. Too bad Barry Bonds ain’t playin’ anymore-I’d pay a thousand bucks to see Eri lay down the special K on that jackass. You have to have a lot of respect for both Eri’s talent and heart-it takes a lot of determination to follow your dream in a male-exclusive enterprise. Generally professional athletes, especially in MLB, aren’t (with rare exceptions like the aforementioned Marshall) particularly noted for their intelligence or progressive attitudes towards women. While it would be great to see Eri end up pitchin’ for my hometown Reds, it might be best for her if she doesn’t. Why? Because…

1) The Reds don’t think Asian players have the ability to play in MLB.

2) Reds second baseman Brandon “Gametime Burger” Phillips would cry and whine if his sorry ass wouldn’t be the first choice for the media to interview.

3) It would lead to a massive outpourin’ of inane gibberish from the festerin’ piehole of Reds broadcaster Marty “Stuck In The 1910’s” Brennaman and his troglodyte lackey Jeff “Deppity Dawg” Brantley.

4) Likewise, it would initiate a huge dose of unimaginative grade school level pabulum served up by fired sports talk host/regretfully still employed by the Enquirer as a sportswriter Paul “Fluffy” Daugherty.

5) Reds manager Dusty “Most Behind The Times Manager In MLB” Baker would abuse Eri’s arm and end her career within a month, as he’s done for so many other young pitchers.

So best wishes to Eri-we’ll be watchin’ her career closely.

March 15, 2010-After readin’ about the Mifune Toshiro ‘classic’ The Bushido Blade on the Samurai Archives, the Brickster decided it was high time he took a look at it fer hisself (especially once I found out it had nuthin’ to do with the wretched video game series like I originally thought). Lemmee tell ya, it’s every bit as messed up and unintentionally funny as it’s been billed. With a little more work and a guest shot from Leslie Nielsen, it coulda been the ultimate spoof of the samurai film genre.

I knew this was gonna be a classic from the openin’ scene. Commodore Perry (played with blustery drunken surliness by Richard Boone) is hostin’ a dinner on board the USS Powhatan for the ‘Shogun’s Commander’ (played by Mifune). Out of nowhere Perry jumps up, screams out “HAI !!!!”, and a red curtain on the balcony pulls back to reveal a bunch of dancin’ guys in blackface givin’ a bravo performance of ‘Camptown Races’. I half expected to see Foghorn Leghorn strut onto the scene for a cameo! Now, ‘Camptown Races’ has been used to great comedic effect over the years. Who can forget Herman Munster’s rousin’ rendition of it while dancin’ in those huge asphalt spreader’s boots? Or its use as the tune for Granny’s campaign song when she was runnin’ against Mrs. Drysdale for Possum Queen of Beverly Hills? “She don’t drive no limousine”, indeed! Granny-The Possum’s Choice! Still, the jaw-droppin’ effect it has here has never been approached, except maybe by Obenjo’s impromptu interpretation at last year’s Gion Matsuri. The reaction of the Japanese actors is priceless (not to mention Ko’s, who was watchin’ this movie with me). Mifune in particular has this little smirk on his face that says, “I can’t believe these jackasses are payin’ me for this”.

Now, while it’d be impossible to top ‘Doo Dah’, the movie does its darnedest. Boone as Perry is a particular riot. He appears to be drunk in all his scenes, most of which involve him gettin’ spastic over the goin’s on. He sounds like a petulant three month old who’s been deprived of his bottle, and he gets bellowin’ angry over EVERYTHIN’. His wooden whinin’ over “that DAMN sword!!!!!” creates the perfect opportunity for a drinkin’ game. Down a shot every time he says it, and you might be as loaded as he was by movie’s end!

That ‘damn sword’, natch, is the Bushido Blade of the title. It’s a gift to the US President by the Shogun, but when it’s stolen by Evil Mito Extremists the treaty between the US and Japan can’t be signed. It’s that whole honor thang, y’know. Even though foreigners are forbidden to enter the interior of Japan, Perry dispatches three men to do so and help recover the sword. After all, we’re Americans, dammit, and we know what’s best for the Japanese. One of em’s an arrogant officer, Hawk-one is Robin, a young officer with a high pitched voice who was probably the sweetheart of the fleet on the way over-and the other is the alleged heavyweight champion of the Pacific Squadron, although he looks like a cross between Larry of the Three Stooges and Flounder from Animal House. We’ll just call him Roundboy for convenience.

It doesn’t take long for the group’s Japanese guides to turn traitor and a Ninjer attack is mounted on the threesome. In a hilarious bit, they’re separated and Roundboy goes lookin’ for Robin, screamin’ out, “Robin! Robin! Where are you?” at which point the scene cuts to Robin bein’ thrown into the river by a bunch of Ninjer-and a short bit of the Batman TV show theme plays! Honest to god, it does. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Roundboy stumbles into another town, and is caught by the magistrate and thrown into jail. A jail that also holds Darth Vader and the entire crew of Captain Ahab’s Pequod. Yes, James Earl Jones is on hand with that distinctive voice, bringin’ a bit of class to the proceedin’s. The entire group is then whisked off to endure somethin’ even worse than torture-their weekly bath! At Roundboy’s instigation, this erupts into a Benny Hill skit and a big fight at the bathhouse that looks like either a girl’s pillow fight without the pillows or a buncha’ gay men engaged in a slapfight. All we really need here to complete the burlesque is a little T & A. Hey, wait! Roundboy’s thrown through a wall into the women’s side of the bathhouse that’s filled with a buncha nekkid Japanese women! Bingo! Vader makes a dramatic speech full of allusions exhortin’ Roundboy to escape, which he does by takin’ out a window.

Meanwhile, Hawk is trailin’ the official Shogunal dude in charge of gettin’ the sword back-Prince Ido, played by (accordin’ to the credits) ‘Sony’ Chiba. Chiba gets whacked and decides he should make Hawk a samurai to finish up the mission, takin’ care of that primordial modern western sammyrai fantasy pretty early in the proceedin’s. Plus, we get yer stereotypical hard as nails/sweet as sugar Japanese lady, except it’s yet another non-Japanese actress (Laura Gemser) playin’ a half gaijin Japanese lady/Ninjer. The Brickster has to admit, this is one woman he wouldn’t want to cross. She outglares Sonny Chiba the entire length of the movie and her glance would make even the toughest man’s package shrivel in fear (unlike the effect she usually has on it in her other films). The stoneface never drops the entire movie. You can believe this particular chick is an ass kicker, but Gemser looks a bit worse for wear than she does in most of her adult film roles. On the bright side, she does have an impessive two point rack that any young buck would be proud to possess. Of course, since all Japanese women, 
even half-Japanese, instantly fall in love with American men, Hawk ends up havin’ his way with her after they’re caught by the Evil Mito Extremists. He even gets a traditional Japanese massage from her-by her walkin’ on his back like George Jefferson used to do for the lantern-jawed limey on “The Jeffersons”. And Robin, who’s been saved by a Japanese village girl, also has her fall instantly in love with him. Roundboy-well, he strikes up a relationship with a local sumo wrestler, exposin’ a beefy physique that makes the Brickster look like the subject of Iron Man magazine’s next photo shoot.

Anywho, the plot from here on is a real cluster. Hawk wants the Bushido Blade back, but must fight the champion of the Mito in a formal duel to reclaim it. And because he’s an American, dammit, when Hawk’s losin’ Ninjer Gal swoops in, cuts off the champ’s hand, swipes the Bushido Blade, and rather than go native and find the Way Of The Samurai In Death, they blow off the duel and hightail it outta there. They’re reunited with Roundboy and Robin, blow up a buncha stuff with some conveniently placed fuel, hold out against incredible odds, and get their ally Prince Ido killed. I mean, someone’s gotta die and it might as well be the one guy that can actually fight in real life.

Meanwhile, Mifune is doin’ the sensible thing by killin’ hisself after goin’ ahead and signin’ the damn treaty without havin’ the sword. His sacrifice renews the honor of the Shogun and also spares the viewer further adventures in assclownery. Perry, happy now, writes off his three man team and steams away, leavin’ them to wait three years for John Wayne to arrive and save them in “The Barbarian and the Geisha” (Wayne bein’ the Barbarian of the duo, in case ya was wonderin’). I was left wonderin’ if Vader and his crew escaped the evil baths or if an unbridled tableau of sodomy lay in their futures, and just how in the world they managed to put together the financin’ for this messterpiece.  

March 8, 2010
-Speakin’ of rejoinin’, the long absent LtDomer has resurfaced on the relatively goreless and non-occult Samurai Archives after a two year hiatus durin’ which it’s rumored he spent his time learnin’ esoteric ninja rituals in the mountains of Iga to employ in the struggle against the rat bastard members of the Taliban. Now, I’m happy as hell to see Domer back and that nothin’ bad has happened to him durin’ his sojurn to the Great Sandbox. Well, aside from havin’ to go to such a rathole in the first place-but he’s already been stationed in Korea, so it ain’t such a stretch. If there’re asses to be kicked, verbally or otherwise, we’ve got the right man over there. But, it also put the Brickster in kind’a an awkward situation.

Namely, what happens when someone that you owe money to has disappeared off the face of the earth, been forgotten about and the debt conveniently written off, but then suddenly reappears? Do you just pretend that the borrowin’ never occurred? Act like you no longer know them? Duck out of clubs whenever they enter? Or hope they’ve forgotten about the whole thing and hit ‘em up for more free drinks? Luckily fer me, Domer still seems to be exiled to Iadorkastan or somethin’ like that, so’s I got some time to ponder the options before he ends up back in Japan.

March 1, 2010-This week the Brickster wants to give a shout out to all his pals over at the Third Moon (the message board connected to the premier Splatterhouse website on the net-Splatterhouse, of course, bein’ the best horror videogame ever created) who wuz askin’ about him. In particular, I appreciated bein’ brought up to speed on all the developments over the past few months and the October edition of Play magazine that featured the reboot of the reboot. Hopefully, I’ll get my computer issues resolved and rejoin the impendin’ celebration of mass slaughter that’s due to be released this summer. As long as Koyori don’t find out, cause she hates me messin’ around with that gory and occult stuff. So Rob, Corpse Monger (the master of Splatmosphere), Rodrigo, SGraf, and everyone else-hope to be rejoinin’ ya soon!

February 22, 2010-Recently the Brickster ran across this pic in a most unexpected spot in a most unexpected context, causin’ him to hose down his computer monitor with half a can of ‘Pepsi Daikon’. Problem is, because Ko thinks I’m mean I can’t really tell you that it came from the Samurai Archives and that it has to do with a certain two-sword wearin’ bunny, and that you should easily be able to spot it yerself if ya go there. So’s I’ll have to maintain my vow of silence or there won’t be any goodies for the Brickster this week, if ya know what I mean. Still, the photo was far too laugh-inducin’ to waste, so here it is. You kin provide yer own captions, my personal fav’rits bein’ “Klown Kar Refugee Drives Punk Home”, “Takin’ One For The Team”, “Sodomy-It’s Not Just For Samurai Anymore”, or the classic “Surly Assclownery”. Looks like shudo is unspoolin’ in the center ring for children of all ages this week!


February 15, 2010-Well, Valentine’s Day 2010 has came and went, and with it, another Brick McBurly Valentine’s Day Hot Tub Party. This was our Third Annual Event-wow, can you believe it’s been that long? Anyway, as always, it went great, even though it was a bit downsized because of the economy. We had a little bit of excitement when an overzealous housewife detrunked the Brickster, leadin’ to a rash of Nessie sightin’s among the other gals-but as usual Koyori spoiled the party and ‘debunked’ the legend by stuffin’ it back in the old Speedo. There was another mishap as well-it must have been a slow news day since we even made the Kyoto edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun, pushin’ the second part of an interview with cartoonist Stan Sakai to the rear page of the entertainment section. Here’s the translation of the feature:


The third annual Brick McBurly Valentine’s Day Hot Tub Party was a lively event, being conducted by Eigamura Park in conjunction with foreign film star Brick McBurly (Abarenbo Gaijin, Shogun Sexecutioner). The ladies-only event was moved indoors this year to the Park’s heated Olympic sized-pool in an effort to save money (the first event was held in the Park’s spacious outdoors special effects tank). The smaller venue made it a more exclusive event, as spots were limited and were raffled off with the proceeds going to the ‘Hearts for Haiti’ foundation. This caused a bit of unrest among fans that were unable to secure a spot. Harried security forces were forced to deal with intercepting disgruntled female fans attempting to sneak in, along with the usual unwelcome complement of female impersonators and other male fans. But things became even stranger when a talking two sword rabbit wearing a hakama demanded an audience with McBurly.

The rabbit, who identified himself as Hubbagoya, claimed that McBurly had sullied his honor the previous week by humiliating him publicly on McBurly Monogatari (Brick’s popular blog). He stated that he was there to pursue an unsanctioned vendetta against McBurly, and figured that appearing at the Hot Tub Party would give him the greatest chance of finding his opponent unarmed. The rabbit appeared to have recovered nicely from his recent execution by Shogun Kitsuno at Sanjohachi, but the stench of soiled hakama still lingered in the air. What happened next is perhaps best told in the Brickster’s own words, as related afterwards to our entertainment reporter Nakamura Yuki as she cuddled up to him in the pool:

“A frickin’ two sword rabbit? Sullied honor and soiled hakama? I knew it had to be that surly assclown Hubbagoya. It was time to do or die, but I had my duty to my fans to think about. I just couldn’t leave this cozy pool and abandon all these cheerful, half drunk ladies! It was the classic bushido conflict of ‘giri’ and ‘ninjo’. Ask Pat Galloway if ya don’t believe me. Anyway, in a perfect world Onnamusha woulda had her ‘Akita Soji’ costume ready and I coulda sent her out to deal with Hubbagoya as my representative. After all, who better to deal with a troublemakin’ unwashed ronin bunny than a Dog of the Shogunate (yuk, yuk)? But I guess she was too busy shovelin’ snow or brewin’ up a batch’a shine.

Then my eyes turned to Hikonyan, who was amusin’ the ladies by doin’ bellyflops into the shallow end of the pool and dancin’ with a lampshade on his head. So’s I told him to go earn his keep and roust the interloper. Now, Hikonyan ain’t done any real fightin’ in over 400 years, so it took a bit of convincin’ to get him to do it, but the cheers of over 1000 horny ladies exhortin’ the ‘cute little kitty’ to go pound some sense into the wascally wabbit musta done the trick. Plus, Hikonyan was pretty drunk, and he’s a nasty drunk. He set off for the showdown with Hubbagoya.

Hikonyan explained that the Hot Tub Party was still bein’ held in the special effects tank, and would Hubbagoya please follow him. After gettin’ there, he screamed out ‘Everybody into the pool!!!!’, just like in that Flintstones episode, and pushed the frightened Hubbagoya into the tank. This roused from hibernation Manda the Water Dragon who was winterin’ in the pool, and in due course Hubbagoya became little more than dragon excrement. It was a happy endin’ for everyone, and I gotta admit, the little white tubba’ goo did a darn fine job handlin’ the sitch in a low key and understated manner.”

Hubbagoya vows to get better and that “This isn’t over-I’ll get you for this!”

McBurly’s reply? “Aw, he had it comin’.”

This article was approved by Koyori McBurly.


February 8, 2010-If you’ve been checkin’ out this page on a regular basis, you probably already know that I had a kickass post for this date that ain’t here anymore. Why? Well, here’s the story. Recently one of the members of the Samurai Archives got postal because no one was able to help him get a newspaper he wanted (which, in an ironic turn, turns out I had since we subscribe to the paper in question and Ko hadn’t put it out for recyclin’ yet). He got all obnoxious and abusive, callin’ several of the SA’s members nasty names, and even insulted them on another forum (a forum which, it should be noted, is virtually abandoned these days thanks to geniuses like him). Tryin’ to understand his misplaced anger, I put together a psychological evaluation of the mook in an attempt to reach out and better deal with his affliction and hopefully encourage him to seek help. It really hit the nail on the head, and the Brickster even received an email from an SA forumite praisin’ him for bein’ so ‘solicitous’. It coulda saved the poor tortured soul a mountain of therapy sessions, not to mention a goodly bit of cash. My final diagnosis of him sufferin’ from ‘Surly Assclownery’ was embraced by the SA’s just and fair Shogun, Kitsuno, and...well, the followin' therapy was implemented:

So, job well done, problem identified and solved, everyone happy all the way around. And I published my findin’s in a white paper here on the Monogatari (preservin’ the subject’s identity and anonymity) in an effort to help those sufferin’ from Assclownery in the future. But Koyori told me that I was “being mean” and that I needed to take it down, pronto. Even though she agreed that the goof in question was actin’ like an assclown and deserved every bit of it. Knowin’ what side my bread is buttered on, I deleted it. Bein’ married to a Pollyanna sure can be a pain in the butt sometimes. And I might as well tell ya, I had to run this post by Ko too. I think she felt bad for castratin’ me in front of my peers so she decided to let me blame her for everythin’, which is one of the great things about women. So there ya have it.

February 1, 2010-The Brickster loves Animeigo (which certain dumbass self-proclaimed experts have spelled Animeiga, I hear)-especially the last couple of years where they’ve been featurin’ releases from the golden age of Japanese samurai cinema in the 60’s and also regular classics of Japanese cinema like Black Rain, Tora-San, and Japan’s Longest Day. And they’ve done their part to keep the unscrupulous vultures and piratin’ bastards of the grey market from preyin’ on the chanbara starved masses of Gotham City. But sheesh-getta load of their packagin’ for the upcomin’ release of five of the six Nakamura “Miyamoto Musashi” films from the early 60’s. Musashi-The Ultimate Samurai? I think not. As regular readers of McBurly Monogatari know, Musashi was just an unwashed pedophile who loved his sword more than women and couldn’t even take down some scared peasant with a rock. His importance (or lack thereof) in Japanese history is underscored by the fact that in the definitive six volume Cambridge History of Japan his name isn’t even mentioned once. Well, maybe Animeigo is referrin’ to how he’s portrayed in the film and not his performance in history. Anyway, the boxed set looks to be a winner, even if the historical Musashi only became one by settin’ up his goons to ambush Kojiro Sasaki at Funajima and then takin’ the credit for hisself.


January 25, 2010-The Brickster really ain’t that much of a video gamer-heck, anythin’ happenin’ in Grand Theft Auto pales in comparison to a typical day at the studio. And why mess with datin’ sims when the real experience is so much more fun? But since Ko, in an effort to keep me off the streets an’ outta trouble, plunked down ¥33900 to give me the Sengoku Musou 3 Wii Bundle, I figured she’d be a tad upset if I didn’t at least go through the motions of tryin’ it out. And whaddya know-I actually liked it! Not only is the game based (loosely…VERY loosely) on the Warrin’ States era, but I can even play as that famed womanizer of lore, Saika Magoichi. But the real reason to play is perhaps summed up best by the accompanyin’ pictures. Kunoichi and Nene are just the tip of the iceberg-some of the chicks in the game, like No and Kai, have cups that are runnin’ over big time if you know what I mean. I just picked Kuno and Nene since they remind me of Ko, not just physically but attitude wise (particularly Nene, who professes her love for Hideyoshi while ruthlessly ridin’ herd on him). Even better, I was able to put myself in the game by whippin’ up a virtual McBurly in ‘Create-A-Warrior’ Mode. Nothin’ like watchin’ yerself dole out the punishment to a bunch of overrated goofs like Shingen and Nobunaga!

But, once again, the Brickster is digressin’. What was a fun gamin’ experience quickly turned sour when I accessed the ‘extras’ menu. In there, I saw a menu for ‘extra content’ and clicked on it. And whaddya know-there was an option there to download an entirely new mode, ‘Historical Mode’, where your created character can choose from three different scenarios, each dealin’ with a different time frame of the Sengoku. Then I noticed that there was a ¥300 charge for each of the three! I guess it ain’t enough for Koei and Nintendo to have you drop over 300 bucks to play a game, but then they have to soak you for an extra ¥900. I could feel one of the suits from Koei stickin’ his hand in my pocket right then and there. While I wouldn’ta minded if it had been a cute OL doin’ that, I don’t want those Nintendo Mafioso Mario and Luigi fishin’ around for my wallet. Not to mention that in a coupla months Koei’ll make a couple of NPC’s playable, maybe add a battle, and charge you for that too-not to mention probably doin’ an ‘Empires’ version of the game down the line. Soon, I can envision buyin’ a game, payin’ ¥7000, and openin’ it up to find a blank disc that prompts you to buy a bunch of downloadable crap in order to play. Now, the right way to do this is to give away all the downloadable add-ons for free, like they do on the PS3. Not like the XBOX360, where Microsoft not only makes you pay for the exact same add-ons the PS3 gives away, but then gives you the wrong ones. Tatsu tells me that if you buy all three add-ons for ‘Way of the Samurai 3’, you’ll find you get the EXACT SAME CONTENT for each of the three. Pay for three, get one-somebody is gettin’ rich off that deal.

Anyway, the story had a happy endin’ since Ko had also given me Wii points (even though these are also a moneymakin’ scheme designed to pad out a purchase with a service charge and have you pay up front for points that may never be used). Not only was I able to buy the three scenarios, but also all three versions of ‘Splatterhouse’ that are on the Japanese network. Still, it’s a lot different from the Brickster’s method of doin’ business, where the gals find that the download is already included with the package.


January 18th, 2010-Hey, the Brickster wants to extend his congrats to his pal Tatsu over at the Samurai Archives, whose essay “Bushido: The Soul of Chambara” was released last week on Animeigo’s new “Bushido: The Cruel Code of the Samurai” DVD. Tatsu, whose specialty seems to be lettin’ the air out of over inflated legends, doles out his special brand of punishment to Kato Kiyomasa, ‘Big Moose’ Musashi, and the 47 Ronin among others. Personally, I wonder why he didn’t throw Yoshitsune under the bus as well-after all, Benkei’s little buddy was a treacherous, schemin’ bastard. One thing I found amusin’ is that Tatsu never uses three words when he can use ten. I hope he never gets a cell phone, because if he ever had to Tweet, keepin’ somethin’ under 140 characters would cause his brain to explode. Now, while word has it that if Tatsu had just listened to his wife Ayame the piece woulda’ been a hundred times better, it still seems to have caught on with the critics. Pat Galloway gave it a shout out on his ‘Asia Shock’ blog and Amazon Top 50 reviewer Zack Davisson had this to say:

Animeigo has put together their usual excellent package for the release of such an important film. Probably my favorite of the extras available was an essay by samurai scholar Randy Schadel discussing the truth behind bushido, and how it was essentially an invented code enforced on the peasants but followed by few of the aristocracy themselves.

Well, actually, that ain’t what the essay said at all, but I gave Zack a helpful vote anyway. Tatsu told me he hopes the piece will inspire its readers to do some readin’ and maybe check out the Samurai Archives in the process. It inspired me to wonder what his wife would look like decked out in a ‘Sailor Moon’ costume, or maybe pink and black frilly Valentine’s Day underwear. I’m not sure why, but there ya go. To congratulate Tatsu, I sent him a special ladies ‘Brick Layer’ T to give to her.

By the way, there’s a movie on the DVD, too, and it’s pretty good.

January 11, 2010-The Brickster is proud to announce that the ‘Brick McBurly’ T-Shirt Shop (seen HERE) at the Samurai Archives is sellin’ three (or five, dependin’ on how ya count) brand new styles of licensed Brick McBurly T-Shirts! Yes, guys, it’s time to throw out that ripped up worn out ‘Abarenbo Gaijin’ shirt (or better yet, use it ta polish yer classic ride, like my orange '66 Mustang) and take things to the next level. But the REALLY big news is that the Brickster’s listened to his legions of adorin’ female fans and put together a stylish women’s T just for them!

First off is the 'The Brickster: Jidaigeki Legend/Miko No Kami’ men’s T (in style ONE or TWO). Each one of these babies is painstakin’ly stitched together by Cafe Press’s piece workin’ ronin turned yamabushi and infused with sekrit mystical powers. Guys, boldly state that just like the Brickster, you’re a legend AND a chick magnet-well, assumin’ your wife or significant other lets you be. It practically screams out “Yes, Bush-ido is practiced here.” Let it be known to shrine maidens across the land that there’s a safe haven to be found in your arms! Now, while we can’t guarantee that wearin’ this shirt will draw those cute gals in the sexy red and white outfits from miles around to you like a beacon in the darkness, it sure works that way for me. Will beauteous shrine maidens be magikally compelled to seek your protection and paw your body through the rich, comfortable fabric? Well, bub, you’ll never know unless you buy one. 


And assumin’ that shirt works for you the way it works for me, what better gift to give afterwards than the brand new ‘Abarenbo Gaijin-Brick Layer’ T? This form-fittin’ ladies T-shirt is guaranteed to show off any woman’s up-front assets to maximum advantage. Ko looks like she's been poured into hers, and that particular drink's to my likin'. The Brickster usta have the prototypes made up in bulk and has been passin’ 'em out as keepsakes to his more…shall we say, forthcomin’ female fans. It’d be tough to find a gal in Kyoto that doesn’t have one of these secreted away in her closet. You’ll also see Tomoe Gozen, Ichi, the Princess of the Mirth Spider Tribe, and other hot historical babes wearin’ these in ‘Abarenbo Gaijin-Season Three’! Ladies, it’s your chance to boast to the world of your proud conquest-heck, it’s practically a feminist statement! Join the ranks of the ‘Brick Layers’ and impress all your friends. Be the envy of the crowd at the next ‘Brick McBurly Valentines Day Hot Tub Party’! Make sure to think up a convincin’ cover story if you plan on wearin’ it in front of your husband, though, cause I'll deny everythin'.

Lastly, you can try’n pass yerself off as a member of the Abarenbo Gaijin production staff with the gah-ran-teed to impress ‘Abarenbo Gaijin Staff’ T (in style ONE or TWO), usin’ the show’s revamped logo. You know that if Elvis or Nobunaga were still alive, they’d be sportin’ one of these bad boys. Wear it in Japan and use it as an icebreaker to pick up chicks in Shibuya! Enthrall your friends and family with tales of your time on the set and the off screen camaraderie between cast and crew! Don’t worry-the ‘ol Brickster’ll back up any crazy story you make up-I do it for Obenjo and Ashigaru all the time. That’s what pals are for, right?

And best of all, every purchase helps enrich the coffers of the Samurai Archives and insure that it remains a safe haven for Japanese history junkies everywhere. In fact, if you don’t buy at least one, the Brickster’ll be forced to conclude that you’re downright dishonorable and traitorous to the cause. Do you want to go down in history with your name next to Akechi Mitsuhide’s? Hell, no! Go down the RIGHT way by buyin’ a Brick McBurly T.

January 4, 2010-Well, the New Year is upon us! The Brickster’s currently tallyin’ up the loot he scored from the New Year’s gift exchanges here in Japan. One of the advantages of havin’ rich in-laws is that they give really great high end gifts. Since they'd consider it an insult to their honor not to give me the best, I’m just helpin’ ‘em out by tryin’ to wheedle the most expensive stuff I can. But sometimes the best gifts are the least expensive ones with the most thought behind them-say, certain acts that may or may not be performed by one’s significant other that we don’t really need to go into here. Ko’s the perfect gift-giver-not only does she know exactly what I like, but has the cash to blow on it. I'm still openin' stuff three days later. Best of all, she surprised the Brickster by giftin’ him with the entire run of Metaru Samurai (Metal Samurai) on DVD. Yes, this really was an honest-to-goodness series and they really have brought it to DVD-four of ‘em, in fact:

Ko got ‘em at the Toei Studio Store at the Studio’s theme park, but after perusin' the Brickster sees you can also get ‘em there. For those unfortunates who are unfamiliar with the series, it’s about a Westerner who’s livin’ as a Japanese (Matsudaira Desunoshin) in Edo period Japan. He spends most of his time hangin’ out at Otafuku (the local restaurant) with his detective pal Heihachi and moonin’ over hard drinkin’, minikimono wearin’ babe Omitsu. But when the evil merchant Echigoya and the rat bastard magistrate Obugyo (yeah, it’s a title-his name’s never used) use their horde of five ninja to prey on the innocent citizens (not to mention kidnappin’ Omitsu for Obugyo’s pleasure), Matsudaira transforms into the guitar wieldin’ master of heavy metal-the scraggly haired, leather pants wearin’ METAL SAMURAI! His command of sound and 21st century rock band stage theatrics carves a swath through the bad guys straight to Obugyo, who is summarily dispatched with one of the Shijuhatte (48 moves of Heavy Metal). And no, I ain’t makin’ a single bit of this up. The budget and scripts for Metal Samurai make Abarenbo Gaijin look like a Kurosawa film, and they bring a whole new meanin’ to the word ‘stock footage’ and ‘formula’. But you know what? I love every single episode. They’re funnier than hell and don’t pretend to be anythin’ but what they are-ridiculous, goofball entertainment where the cast is havin’ a great time. I’ll be examinin’ these in more detail when I get finished watchin’ ‘em all-try not to fall off the edge of your seat in the meantime. And if that isn’t enough to look forward to, we’ve finally got Abarenbo Gaijin Season Three in the can! Look for exclusive episode listin’s and script excerpts soon. And if Kitsuno ever gets motivated, we’ll have two new T-Shirt styles as well-mens and ladies.