Profile for I. Harper > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by I. Harper
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,452,728
Helpful Votes: 110

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
I. Harper (Bedford, UK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3
Nordic walking set
Nordic walking set
Offered by Invero
Price: £21.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for beginners, 3 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nordic walking set (Sports)
These were very cheap, but have been brilliant. Easily adjustable for height I have used them several times a week for a couple of months now, I'd recommend them to anybody.

Slendertone Flex Unisex Ab Toning System
Slendertone Flex Unisex Ab Toning System
Price: £42.29

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works with consistent use, 21 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been using this daily for over three weeks now and I can already see and feel a difference, my stomach looks flatter and with better tone and my abs feel much taughter. Initially I had it set at around level 70 and sometimes felt that it was working my abs hard enough and I found that I had to have it set really high to make it feel like it was actually having an effect.

Sharp LE37XD1E - 37" Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV -  With Freeview
Sharp LE37XD1E - 37" Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV - With Freeview

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb bit of kit, 24 Aug. 2007
I've had this TV for a week now and I must say that I am very impressed with it.

It was very easy to install and setup and within 15 minutes of taking it out of the box it was completely up and running.

The picture quality is superb. I made two adjustments to get it to suit my tastes (turned the constrast down two notches and set the colour temp to the middle setting) and I am in no way disappointed. The blacks on this TV are truly black, and films with lots of night scenes such as The Da Vinci Code really emphasise how good they are. Even from a non upscaling DVD player through the component input, my DVDs have never looked so good. The colours are amazing and I can detect no motion bluring at all. Pictures from my Sky Box and from the Freeview decoder general look brilliant and much, much better than I was expecting, the pictures from these sources are really sharp and crisp, and not soft and fuzzy like I see on other LCD TVs. But the jewel in the crown are the HD pictures, the clarity and detail of which will take your breath away.

I read a lot of criticism of the standard sound on this TV, but I can't really hear anything wrong with it, and the setting to boost the dialogue balance works really well in my opinion.

Another bonus is that this is a great looking set, I have mine mounted on the wall with a panel it hide the wiring and it looks fantastic, and everyone who has seen it has commented on what a great looking TV it is.

I think the LC37XD1E is an awesome TV and represents great value for money, I did my homework and looked at lots of sets before buying this TV, but the Sharp's picture quality blew me away. If your looking for this sort of TV you can't go far wrong with this one.

Blue Gender: Volume 1 - Factors 1-3 [DVD]
Blue Gender: Volume 1 - Factors 1-3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Laura Bailey
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £16.82

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine series let down by a small budget, 20 Sept. 2005
Blue Gender is a show that I have recently re-watched and my original opinion of it has changed somewhat.
I saw it originally when it was shown on Sci-fi channel with Nadesico and Evangelion. I hadn't seen Nadesico before and really wanted to see it and was looking forward to watching Evangelion again having previously seen it on VHS. I knew very little about Blue Gender and when I watched it I didn't take a great deal of notice of it. I enjoyed it but nothing special.
Watching it again in isolation I realised that I had formed the wrong opinion of Blue Gender. I know it isn't as well known or revered as shows like Evangelion or Nadesico but Blue Gender is incredibly well written.
The basic plot line of Blue Gender is about a young main, Yuji, who having been cryogenically frozen in the hope that a cure is found for an incurable illness he has. He awakens much later than expected to find that the world is a very different place - a derelict wasteland over-run by insect like monsters called the Blue. A rescue team saves Yuji and gets him back to some orbiting space stations known as Second Earth where the remains of the human race figure how to retake the planet for themselves and eliminate the Blue.
Blue Gender is essentially a sci-fi/mecha series but what really runs through the heart of the series is a very credible love story between Yuji and one of the rescue team, Marlene. The story is very involved and there are some clever sub-plots and plot twists as well. The character development is second to none and you really get to know and feel for Yuji and Marlene as their relationship develops in fits and starts, forced along by the circumstances and pressures that surround them. Marlene is incredibly cold to start with but changes as she falls for Yuji and realises what is really important to her and Yuji struggles to come to terms with has happened and begins to harden as he struggles for survival.
Blue Gender is also very adult and has many scenes of a sexual nature and is very violent and gory at times. This isn't for young audiences.
What lets Blue Gender down is the animation. It was produced on a small budget and that is reflected in the quality of the animation. Which is a real shame because some of the designs are fantastic and there is some lovely artwork too. The problems lie with a lack of detail sometimes and some obvious shortcuts in the animation to save costs.
Blue Gender loses the last star because of this, the story telling fully deserves 5 stars as there aren't many shows that can remained that interesting throughout the whole series. If Blue Gender had animation like RahXephon or Stand Alone Complex then it would probably be the perfect series.
Wholeheartedly recommended.

Zeoraima - Project Hades / Project Hades 2 [DVD]
Zeoraima - Project Hades / Project Hades 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Toshihiro Hirano
Offered by Sound and Vision
Price: £5.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Mecha fans only, 12 Aug. 2005
Zeoraima was originally released between November 1988 and February 1990 as a 4 part OVA. Manga Entertainment released the series as two videos in 1997 with episodes 1 & 2 and episodes 3 & 4 being joined to create two 1 hour films. This DVD contains transfers of both of those videos on a single disc.
Zeoraima tells the story of a secret society called the Steel Dragons and their plans of world domination using 8 giant robots but the most powerful one - the 'Zeoraima' is missing. It's pilot is 14 year old Masato Akitsu , who thought he was normal until he realised that he had been genetically engineered to pilot the Zeoraima and only he can stop the Steel Dragons initiating Project Hades.
Despite it's short length Zeoraima fits a lot in without feeling like there's too much going on all the time. The plot whilst not terrible original does provide an entertaining and engaging story and manages to pull off some decent twists as well. The fighting scenes between the robots are dynamic and well choreographed.
The animation is above average but it does occasionally use some obvious resource saving sequences but some of the mecha designs are pretty cool and the characters are OK too. The colouring used suits the feel and atmosphere of the story very well. But what I do like about Zeoraima's animation is that it has that look and style that most mecha anime from the mid 80's to the mid 90's had, from Heavy Metal L-Gaim up to Evangelion, and I love that style.
The beauty of these older videos being transferred onto DVD is that they now tend to come with the original Japanese soundtrack, and whilst the dub track isn't too bad Zeoraima sounds much better in Japanese and I would recommend that you watch it this way.
Fans of mecha anime will enjoy Zeoraima, it's not amazing but it's a pretty enjoyable way to kill a couple of hours, but I feel people with just a casual interest in anime will find it pretty boring and average.

Neon Genesis Evangelion - Death And Rebirth/End of Evangelion [3 disc set] [DVD]
Neon Genesis Evangelion - Death And Rebirth/End of Evangelion [3 disc set] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hideaki Anno

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning but deeply flawed, 3 Aug. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This new movie boxset means you can now build the ultimate Evangelion collection along with the Platinum editions of the TV series that are now available.
The set is in a three disc gatefold that is housed in a slip case.
The Evangelion movies were released after the TV series came to it's confusing and disappointing conclusion. Death and Rebirth is essential a compilation of episodes 1-24 and provides the prelude to the End of Evangelion movie that replaces episodes 25 & 26.
Having the two movies together is helpful as you shouldn't try and watch End of Evangelion unless you have either the TV series or the first movie recently as too much will be unexplained because as you probably know Neon Genesis Evangelion is a very complex show.
End of Evangelion starts with the NERV headquaters being attacked as SEELE tries to capture the EVA units and their pilots so start the next evolution of mankind. The battle scene between Asuka and the prototype EVA units is fantastic, dramatic as it is gory. But when we get into the 'episode 26' part of End of Evangelion the story becomes less straight forward and the deep philosophy begins and the film ends with a long and drawn out sequence with Shinji and Asuka which finishes very abruptly. To me this provides a slightly more satisfactory but still disappointing end to one of the greatest anime series ever.
End of Evangelion pushes the boundaries of film making and story telling and that's one of the reasons why I love anime so much and this sort of vision is very rarely seen anywhere else. It's just that I think End of Evangelion goes too deep for it's own good sometimes.
But despite my reservations you will not be disappointed with the discs. The video transfers are absolutely pixel perfect - just stunning. The actions scenes are so fluid and crisp, these are some of the best transfers I have ever seen. Plus you get decent soundtracks especially on End of Evangelion, which even gets DTS 6.1, and makes good use of all the extra speakers with some good surround and sub effects.
There some worthwhile extras available too especially the commentaries which provide some insight into what's going on on screen.
If you don't already own one or either of the movies on DVD then definitely buy this box set, otherwise it probably isn't worth it although big EVA fans may want to upgrade anyway.
Overall an excellent presentation of a stunning but deeply flawed film, if you're an anime fan End of Evangelion needs to be in your collection regardless of what you think of it.

Ninja Scroll - 10th Anniversary Special Edition [1995] [DVD]
Ninja Scroll - 10th Anniversary Special Edition [1995] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen Apostolina

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining ninja romp!!, 22 Jun. 2005
Ninja Scroll is usually one of the first anime films people see along with Akira and Ghost in the Shell, and with good reason too as it's fantastic!
I can normally take or leave most ninja anime, I love mecha and enjoy most sci-fi, horror and Miyazaki stuff, but ninjas don't normally push my buttons. Ninja Scroll though, is a pleasant exception.
This 10th anniversary edition contains two discs with different versions on each disc. Disc 1 has the 4:3 ratio pan and scan version and disc 2 the 16:9 anamorphic version.
Disc 2 also has several soundtracks including DTS 6.1 and proper DD 5.1 EX tracks. Plus a number of other interesting extras, especially the interview with the director.
I won't go into the plot as several other reviews describe it in plenty enough detail already. Although I will say that the plot is very good, it moves along at a sensible pace with a good balance between dialogue and action and unfolds cleverly, giving the viewer snippets of what's going on along the way and piecing it together thoroughly at the end.
Ninja Scroll is very Japanese, more so than a lot of other anime, and makes many cultural references throughout. This, I think, gives the story more depth and weight and makes it less fantastical (even though it's about ninjas and demons). But through this 'Japaneseness' the film fully deserves it's 18 certificate as Ninja Scroll is very violent and has many other scenes and themes of an adult nature as a warning to those who decide to watch it lightly.
Jubei and Kagero, the lead male and female, are excellent characters and they develop and interact very well and much thought has been put into them. But that's not to say the other's are bad or underdeveloped, as entire animated cast is excellent. Throughout the film there are many characters and sequences that will completely take you by surprise, these are a joy to watch even on repeated viewings.
The animation, as expected on a film like this, is superb, fluid movement and excellent detail everywhere.
The only disappointing thing I found with this DVD set was the sound. Listening through my home cinema separates I found that the DD 5.1 EX track made very little use of the extra speakers. The sub effects were pretty much non-existent and only little more came through the surround speakers. The scene at the beginning when the ninjas are jumping through the trees was good with the sound of movement all around you but other than that there isn't much to shout about.
A 13 episode TV series sequel to the film following the further exploits of Jubei was released in the late 90's and is now available on DVD and Ninja Scroll 2 is currently in pre-production.
An obvious film to watch it you're new to anime and thoroughly recommended to everyone, you'll love Ninja Scroll!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2014 1:45 AM BST

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tomino ends his legacy in fine style, 4 Mar. 2005
Yoshiyuki Tomino's legendary and dark vision of the future where man resides both on Earth and in space and the ensuing war of independence between the Zeon space colonists and the Earth Federation finally reaches a thrilling and fitting climax.
It all started with Mobile Suit Gundam back in 1979, and the story of warring rivals Amuro Ray and Char Aznable and would rewrite sci-fi anime history forever.
The story continued in 1985 in Mobile Suit Z Gundam, where Char and Amuro had to team up to fight the oppressive Titans and through 1986's Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, the latter half of which was rewritten by Tomino to feed into Char's Counterattack which was announced towards the end the ZZ's TV run and premiered on the big screen a year after ZZ finished airing.
Set in UC0093, 13 years after the One Year War ended, and having gone missing in action in UC0088 (at the end of Zeta Gundam) Char Aznable is back leading the regrouped Neo Zeon forces (the original Neo Zeon movement was defeated in UC0089 at the end of Gundam ZZ) in it's continued war against the Earth Federation.
But this time Char is leading the Zeon forces on his ideals and not those of the Zabi family's who started the original war of independence. Char sees that mankind can only evolve by living in space, unrestricted by gravity. He wants to force asteroids into the Earth to create a nuclear winter and force everybody into space. With the Earth Federation corrupt and severely weakened, long suffering veteran Captain Bright Noa teams up with Amuro Ray to lead a task force against Neo Zeon. Amuro and Char meet for the final time in battle.
Char's Counterattack does rely, to a large extent, on the viewer having seen the previous Gundam TV series/movies (which originally in Japan most people would have done) and makes quite a few references to them throughout the film, especially to the original series, and the dialogue depends heavily on the Gundam rhetoric that has developed constantly since episode 1 of the original series. Those who have seen 0079, Z and ZZ or know a lot about UC Gundam will follow it with no problems, but for those who know little or nothing about UC Gundam or whose knowledge is limited only to Wing may struggle with what the main characters are going on about sometimes.
Which is a real shame, as Char's Counterattack really is a superb film, and fits a lot into its 124 minutes. The first 70 odd minutes builds up the tension with the politics interspersed with various action scenes and the final 50 minutes is the final battle. Char and Amuro finally settle their differences. And what a final battle it is, long, dramatic and very intense, Bright leads the rag tag Earth Federation forces to prevent Char from dropping Axis on Earth and Char and Amuro finally settle their differences in a fight to the death. Plus what is very good is the way Tomino does bring this legendary saga to a proper close with no unexplained loose ends or unanswered questions spoiling it.
The animation is excellent with good design and detail; it may look a touch dated now but it the style and feel is in keeping with the previous 3 TV series. The Sazabi mobile suit piloted by Char is one of the best mecha designs ever (probably even better than the Titan designs from Zeta) and Amuro's Nu Gundam is pretty cool with some excellent weapons.
The dubbing is excellent, mature with absolutely no cheesiness, but you would expect this when Tomino himself oversaw the transfer to the west. The Japanese track is also included and is the best way to watch it as the subtitles a superb as well.
The soundtrack is very good with excellent music and spot effects. The dub track is also available in an effective Dolby 5.1 mix that makes good uses of all the extra speakers especially in the final battle scenes.
Char's Counterattack is a very, very good film and provides the perfect ending to anime's greatest storyline. If you know nothing about Gundam read up on the background story (the official website is good for this) and then watch it or if you already know or have seen UC Gundam then this is an absolute must.

Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight [DVD] [1999] [Region 1] [NTSC]

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An under-rated sci-fi epic, 18 Feb. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Odin - Photon Space Sailor Starlight is one of those sci-fi anime epics that regularly sprung up during the 80's and early 90's and is sadly massively underrated.
This DVD contains both the original 139 minute Japanese language only presentation and the edited 97 minute English dubbed Western release.
The film is set in the year 2099, and man travels around the solar system (or as far as Jupiter) on laser powered highways set-up between various planets, moons and asteroids. A vessel called the Starlight, powered by a new drive system capable of powering the Starlight deep into the universe, is ready to set sail. Whilst heading out towards the edge of the solar system the crew answers a distress call where they rescue a mysterious call, who talks of a incredible Eden like planet called Odin. The captain refuses to go, so the crew mutinies and speed through unchartered space towards Odin. When they finally arrive, Odin doesn't turn out to be quite what they expected.
Now bearing in mind that Odin was originally released in 1985, it looks incredible. Some of it has dated a little but the quality of the animation is fantastic and the detail in character movement and expression, technical aspects of the ship and during action scenes is quite outstanding and looks much fresher compared to other mid 80's anime such as Fist of the North Star for example. There are lots of nice ideas too and the design of the Starlight is quite original.
Some of the characters are a bit cheesy, especially the young, maverick pilot that forces his way on board and the 'old sea dog' captain. The soundtrack is very good but the 80's hard rock music is what really dates this film even though it fits in perfectly and the Japanese heavy metal band live video during the closing credits will have you in hysterics.
But despite how much I like this film it does have it's flaws. In it's un-edited format it begins to get rather drawn out towards the end and drags slightly in a couple of places. The edited version is punchier, and the dub is OK but too much has been cut out and it isn't as involving as it's unedited brother. Because of this Odin loses it's final star.
I find it sad that classics like Odin are often unfairly slated and overlooked, I really like it and if you're a fan of films like Akira, Lensman and Patlabor then you will probably enjoy it too. I whole heartedly recommend it.

Patlabor 1 And 2 [1989] [DVD]
Patlabor 1 And 2 [1989] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mamoru Oshii

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the first film alone, 18 Feb. 2005
Before he directed the seminal Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii had directed the first two Patlabor movies.
The title refers to the Patrol Labors used by the Tokyo police force in both movies.
Originally released in 1990 and 1993 respectively, theses films followed on from Oshii's original 7 part Patlabor OVA released in 1988.
This pack includes two individual DVD cases, one for each movie, housed in a slipcase.
The original movie is a true masterpiece. Based in the year 1999 the rapid rising of the sea level has prompted Japan to build a dam complex to prevent the coastal city of Tokyo from disappearing under the sea. To aid the construction of the project Labors, mechanical exoskeletons, are created to increase productivity. But recently Labor has increased dramatically and the Patrol Labor division and the police must find out what or who are behind it.
It has the deep, philosophical narrative that we have come to expect from Oshii, but it is beautifully balanced with excellent action scenes and superb plot development. Throughout the film, as the police piece together what is happening, it has that fantastic chilling atmosphere that good thriller type anime has.
The animation is awesome, it was a big budget affair, and doesn't look remotely dated even today. The Labors are pretty original too as far as mecha designs go and the backdrops and scenery are incredibly convincing.
It really is a great film and deserves 6 stars really, and even non-anime film fans would appreciate this as a truly remarkable piece of film-making.
The second follows on from the first and is set in 2002. The destruction of a UN Labor team in South East Asia begins the build-up to a deadly terrorist plan that threatens overthrow both Japan's Military and Government and destabilise it's world position. With evidence of an impending military takeover, the scattered members of the original Patlabor team must disobey orders and regroup to defend the city from the terrorists.
Coming off the back of the original film you will have high hopes for this sequel. But I feel that you, like me, will be sadly disappointed. Whereas the first film was the perfect balance of narrative and action, the balance here is far more heavily weighted towards the narrative. The film has a very political bias and a different feel to the Patlabor division, which is good as it means that this film has it's own identity, but the dialogue is very long, deep and ponderous and generally slows the film down to much. The philosophical rambling, while generally quite interesting, just goes on and on to expense of some action or other plot device to move the film along.
The box claims that the soundtrack has been remixed in Dolby 5.1, but it hasn't, it only has a Dolby 2.1 (Front L & R and mono surround) soundtrack.
While I didn't find it boring, I certainly didn't enjoy it as much as the first. The animation is even better, the level of detail stunning. Overall I'd give this film 3.5 stars.
But I will give this box set 5 stars as it is owning just for the first movie alone with second as an added bonus. Highly recommended.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3