Vultus to come to US as NM4

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Honda Vultun/NM4

The Honda Vultus: A scooter designed to evoke the iconic bike from Akira, and coming to the US as the NM4.

The Honda Vultus, a futuristic platform from Honda, will be available as the NM4 in America.

The Vultus was originally slated to be released in Asia, where it was believed that the audience would be much more attracted to a bike that looked fresh out of sci-fi anime.  But now, the bike is on the Honda website as the NM4, available for $11,000 msrp.

Sure, sounds pricey for a bike that sits low enough to be considered a scooter by many; but this ain’t a scooter.  In fact, Honda promotes it along with their other motorcycles.  And why not: With a 670cc fuel-injected engine, 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission, antilock brakes, LED lights, integrated storage, passenger seat and meets CARB standards, this could be the icon of the new commuter vehicle in the US.

See also: Livewire and the future of the American bike market

Video review: Star Tr… uh… Steamboy!

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Steamboy

Steamboy, Sony Pictures.

Yes, due to the innumerable requests I’ve had to weigh in on the latest Star Trek movie, I’ve decided to… review Steamboy!   (Because I’d much rather avoid the trainwreck of the latest JJ Abrams Trek movies and enjoy a great steampunk animated feature instead.)

Steamboy: Creation of Katsuhiro Otomo, the incredible artist who brought us AkiraSteamboy, the animated feature-length film that took ten years for The Steamboy Committee (a conglomeration of production houses that cooperated on the film, much like the production arrangement for Akira) to produce.

Alas, Sony Pictures did not expect much of a reception by American audiences (must have been all those British accents… Americans apparently hate accents that aren’t attached to supermodels), and gave this a limited release… so don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying, “Steam-wha?”  But having adored Akira, and being that I am currently exploring the realms of Steampunk fiction, I’m glad I finally had a chance to see this film. Continue reading

Cowboy BeBop: We need more sci-fi like this

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Cowboy BeBopWhat do an ex-cop with an artificial arm, an ex-hitman with a mean martial-arts gift, an amnesiac con artist with a gambling problem, a slightly wacko hacker and an artificially-intelligence-enhanced dog have in common?  These characters—Jet Black, Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, “Radical” Edward and Einstein the Welsh Corgi—all fly together on a ship called the BeBop, traveling about the occupied areas of the Solar System chasing down bounties in order to pay for their next meal.

On the surface, Cowboy BeBop looks like most sci-fi anime, with stylized characters, futuristic tech, spaceships and settlements on other planets; but not, as those settlements tend to look like third world countries, the ships look very used and ugly, billboards hang in space and the heroes are as likely to fight their bounties with fists as with guns.  And for a program about futuristic bounty hunters, an awful lot of strange and funny things that have nothing to do with bounties tend to happen to them… they’re not the most successful at their trade, and they eat a lot of cheap noodles for sustenance.  In other words, the crew of the BeBop seem a lot like normal people.

And maybe science fiction needs more people like them. Continue reading