Here are many beautiful things for your weekend.

*Anime Dept: Oh YouTube, you bottomless treasure chest of excerpted beauty! Just look at what’s up there now, and NOT SAFE FOR WORK - five big bad action clips from Mad Bull 34, a 1990-92 series of four 46-50 minute OVA releases, later put out on videocassette in the US and UK by Manga Video, and widely considered to be one of the trashiest non-porno anime to ever receive a proper English-language release. It’s never appeared on R1 dvd, and I have no idea who has the license these days (it's no longer Manga). The ‘plot’ follows John ‘Sleepy’ Estes and his green partner Diazaburo ‘Eddie’ Ban, a pair of NYC cops walking the meanest beat in the history of time. Diazaburo is a good-hearted kid, always willing to play it by the book, but hulking Sleepy knows the real nature of the streets, and delivers burning hot justice from the barrel of his shotgun, at least when he’s not reading perps their rights - with his fists!! He’s also a noted wrangler of prostitutes, but don’t worry! He only uses his big pimpin’ income to fund valuable social programs! And all the people he shoots are bad. And sometimes there’s tanks and monsters and cyborgs.

The anime only managed to cover a handful of Sleepy and Diazaburo’s adventures, culled from the 1986-90 manga of the same title by Mr. Prolific himself, Kazuo Koike, with Inoue Noriyoshi on art. Scanlations are floating around of some of the earlier chapters (torrent-only at the moment, it seems), but those who’re familiar with the Koike of Crying Freeman and like will kind of know what to expect, although Mad Bull 34 pushes things so far over the top that it’s essentially farcical. Needless to say, the anime is very much toned down, despite the freedom of the OVA format, though be sure to enjoy the jaw-slackening Chinese accents of the dub. That’s entertainment!

*Michael Jackson Dept: If Sleepy isn’t to your liking, however, I guess there’s always 1985's Captain EO. Man, I never got to see that thing in its intended 3D laser light extravaganza form, and I sure hope the special out-of-screen effects covered for the rest of it, because it's pretty dull. Pretty expensive, too, at one point holding a world record for most expensive film, minute-by-minute (well over $15 million for 17 minutes, though I think the whole enhanced theatrical setup got factored into that). As far as I'm concerned it still holds the world record for fastest journey of an antic sidekick from 'sorta amusing' to 'Jesus Christ I want him fed to space bears.' Oh Hooter, won't you ever learn?! Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, co-written by George Lucas. I did kinda dig Anjelica Huston in high-camp overdrive as the main villain. The whole thing was eventually adapted to comics form in Eclipse 3-D Special #18. This is all not to be confused with the Tim Vigil comic EO, which featured a man having sex with a corpse and eating its heart. It wasn't in 3D, so it might not have as much appeal to the Captain EO fanbase.

Of more value is a later Jackson promotional effort, 1997's Ghosts, directed by Stan Winston from an idea by Stephen King. Sure, it's 40 or so minutes of songs and dances and special effects, but it's somewhat interesting for its potent defensive streak, with Jackson starring as both a misunderstood magical entertainer whom many think is creepy, and a mean Caucasian mayor who hates 'freaks.' The kids love Michael, though adults (hey, it's Mos Def!) just don't understand! In the end, everyone learns to appreciate good Mr. Jackson's talents, even if he's scary sometimes. Yes.

*Manga Dept: Who can forget Nintendo Power? Back in the day, every young NES fool would be watching their mailbox each month for a fresh dose of promotion and hype and maps and things. And comics! Everyone remembers Howard & Nester (hell, they even did a Golgo 13 takeoff), but today I know the real magic happened in issues #32-43, which featured mighty twin manga from two very different sources. First, there was Super Mario Adventures, written by none other than Kentaro Takekuma of Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga fame (the art was by Charlie Nozawa). Pretty nice.

But the real deal? The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, by the beloved Shotaro Ishinomori, creator of Cyborg 009 and many other classics. I had know idea who the guy was at the time, but boy does this stuff bring back the memories now. It seems that this material got released online in PDF form by the official Zelda site a while back, but the link above has converted it into a friendlier format.

*Critique Dept: And since I brought up old Duke Togo above, I'll finish things off here with a link to a very nice review by Keith of Teleport City, covering The Professional: Golgo 13, that 1983 anime feature (oh, how we've come full circle today!) based on the manga we all know and love. The linked piece goes into much detail regarding the film's genre antecedents (not to mention the 1977 live-action Sonny Chiba effort), and offers up some good extra info on creator Takao Saito's prior effort at adapting James Bond (loosely) to the comics form. Hell, why not look at more of Keith's reviews of vintage anime? They're nice stuff. Crusher Joe is aces, by the way.

*Deals Dept: Ah, what the hell? I'm on a roll, so I'll keep going long enough to bring you to AnimEigo's summer sale! Craploads of anime dvds for under ten bucks! Like Crusher Joe! Four hours of stuff on that one! And The Dagger of Kamui! Oh god, Arcadia of My Youth! Plus - tons of Lone Wolf & Cub and Zatoichi and Lady Snowblood films for under fifteen bucks! I think shipping is free as well (via media mail)! Pay little money for many things!