Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova- (Aoki Hagane no Arupejio)

Have you ever played the game of Battleship and thought to yourself, "What if the warships could transform into cute women?" No? Well, your imagination must be lacking. In this anime (based off a manga I will no doubt read in the future) the Fleet of Fog is a terrifying force that blockades all of the countries of the world. The ships and submarines look like WWII replicas, but they are controlled by artificial intelligence and are capable of disastrous attacks that you wouldn't find possible on any seaworthy vessel from the 1940's. 

The Fleet of Fog do not attack human settlements or facilities so their exact purpose is not known, but anyone dumb enough to patrol the seas will be mincemeat. With communication cut off between countries no one is sure just how many people are left alive across the world. Thanks to global warming the seas are higher and the Fleet of Fog have even more territory than they might have had otherwise. I'm not sure why the inclusion of that information is important in the overall plot, but it could be great advertising for those eco-friendly cars. "Don't want a world covered by evil but moe battleships? Drive the new Prius."

Most of these seafaring titans of terror are controlled by a single core and these cores can take the form of a human being when they so desire. There are different reasons why these ships might choose to project a human image, but when they do so it's called their "Mental Model" form.

For whatever reason the Mental Model form is always that of a cute girl. 

God, I love Japan. 

Chihaya Gunzo is just your average kid that happened to touch the submarine I-401, a strange defector from the Fleet of Fog. I-401's Mental Model is called Iona and she claims that her only orders are to be Gunzo's ship and obey him. 

The Japanese government isn't particularly thrilled about this and Gunzo becomes a fugitive as he and Iona travel the seas and do odd jobs. Eventually he gets a full crew and takes a job by a faction in the Japanese government that could alter the future of the world. If he can deliver a weapon prototype to the United States with hopes that the US could mass produce it, the Fleet of Fog might just lose their stranglehold on humanity. 

The Pacific ocean is very large, though. It's crawling with the Fleet of Fog's emissaries. There's also no guarantee the US still even exists as we know it. 

I-401 could very well be on a pointless suicide mission. 

This may sound fairly stark, but there is also a lot of cuteness and wit about this anime. We're talking about girls that pilot ships by themselves and seem to all end up in Chihaya Gunzo's presence at some point. One of them is just dying for him see her "engine room." It must be nice being Chihaya. It's a ship harem, by God. 

With help from a few more defectors Chihaya Gunzo may just find success. If not with them then at least with his mission. 

Also one of the Mental Models gets stuck in a teddy bear. For real. 

This anime is really short at 12 episodes so I devoured like a pack of Tic Tacs, but it didn't leave me feeling that the anime had been rushed. Although the ending of the anime is different since the manga is still ongoing (I believe so anyway). I'd definitely recommend this one. Although this anime is CG it didn't look ugly or cheaply made. Certainly a plus. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Draft Day

Kevin Costner is a bit of an unsung hero to me. Sure, his career started out insanely promising and he was in a lot of good movies, but then something happened and he hasn't been in quite so many universally accepted movies. Hell, Ben Affleck's career was able to soar after Gigli so I can't say it's a grudge people hold against Costner over Waterworld.

For whatever reason Kevin Costner just hasn't hit one out of the park in a while. However, Kevin Costner is head and shoulders above the likes of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage because his movies at least remain watchable. Granted, I haven't seen every movie by Costner lately, but I've seen enough by Cage and Travolta to convince me that Costner really isn't doing too bad.

In my humble opinion Draft Day is a huge success although there are a few caveats. This isn't really a sports movie, but a "sports office" movie. Most of this movie is spent watching Kevin Costner talking on the phone to other people. There are no fantastic and rousing locker room speeches or any last minute game heroics. There's no game even being played around draft time. This movie has more in common with courtroom dramas then a lot of sports movies. It's a lot of talking and no action.

Most people might not think that this movie could be suspenseful, but I found it riveting.

I was emotionally invested in this movie because I love the idea that careers can be made or broken by a draft. There's a lot for this movie to work with and for once Hollywood gets it right. The day of the NFL Draft was completely justified by Draft Day even down to Roger Goodell's appearance at the end when the crowd started booing as he walked on stage.

Of course, there is a bit of a personal factor thrown in with the main characters. Kevin Costner's character gets told that his employee and person in charge of salary cap (Jennifer Garner) is pregnant with his baby. He is told this only hours before the draft which is when this movie starts. 

During the chaos of the day he must somehow come to terms with that while setting the future of his beleaguered organization on the right path. It doesn't help him when his boss (Frank Langella) forces him to make a trade for the first pick that would lose him three consecutive first picks in future drafts for an all-star caliber quarterback from Wisconsin he doesn't want and his coach (Denis Leary) doesn't want. The deal is made, if you can believe this, with the Seattle Seahawks having the first pick originally. 

Someone, somewhere, has a strange sense of humor. 

Hell, just making a movie about the Browns organization starring Kevin Costner could have been an epic disaster. Neither of them are very lucky, are they? Maybe that's why it is the perfect onscreen marriage, though. 

The NFL did put its best foot forward with this because it has all of the guys from ESPN and NFL Network making an appearance. Deion Sanders, Rich Eisen, Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock, and (perhaps the most effective being since he gets the opening lines of the film) Chris Berman get to do their jobs in this world of fiction. I mean, for a minute, I really thought I was watching the NFL Network and not a movie. Then I see Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner and I realize that other stuff is supposed to happen. Not much, mind you, because this film only takes place on Draft Day. If you want make-out scenes or gushy moments of feels then this isn't your movie, but if you like stats and replays of NFL Films then you've got it in spades. 

If you are a football nerd then this film will delight you and give you plenty to enjoy. Of course, you can pick apart the film's conclusion and go "a real team would never do that!" but the conclusion is good from a strictly "film-watching" experience. It's a bit hinky by real world logic, which this movie really strives for the most part, but it gets the job done on the emotional front. 

If you aren't into football then... Well, you might want to stick with Rudy or something and come back to this one when you are one of the initiated. 

I enjoyed this movie and found it wholly satisfying. If this movie were a draft pick it'd be a high grade second rounder on Mike Mayock's mock draft. I can think of few higher compliments I can give. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Vol. 6 by Puyo

Believe it or not it had been so long since I had read the last volume that I completely forgot it was going to be available for download in September. Good news is I only have to wait until March for volume seven. 

I wouldn't say this volume is worth waiting a year for (contrary to popular belief I do have a life), but this is a decent read that will take away the blues for a while.

This volume centers around the Festival and what the Literature Club plans to do for it. Haruhi, who doesn't even go to North High, wants to form a band, but the Literature Club decides to go the safe route and chooses to make a list of their "100 Favorite Books." 

However, their plans get somewhat derailed when a childhood friend of Kyon comes into town. Sasaki, that's the friend's name, has a bizarre favor to ask of Kyon, too. If you've read the light novels then you'll be somewhat familiar with her, but this is definitely a different take. 

This time she isn't Haruhi's rival, but Nagato's. That'd make sense because Nagato is supposed to be the main character and all that, but if you haven't read the light novels than none of what I am saying is probably making much sense. "Why is Sasaki supposed to be Haruhi's rival???" "Who is this Sasaki?" "Why am I reading quotations in italics?" Lucky for you, I've read all of the light novels and you can find my posts about them on this blog. You don't need to be familiar with them to enjoy this series, but you'll definitely get all of the references and in-jokes if you do. 

I enjoyed this little volume. It definitely didn't seem as long as a regular manga volume, but it was. Time flies, I guess. I just wish this series would creep along a bit faster. Even Attack On Titan has this beat when it comes to the pace of release. 

Marilyn Manson from Worst to First (2.0)

I was in the sixth grade when I got my first Marilyn Manson CD. The CD was called Antichrist Superstar and it left a rather indelible mark of me. It scared the crap out of me and I told all my friends about it just wondering if they'd heard this before. Only a few had and that made me feel like I had just discovered a giant fossil in my backyard.

Just before I go any further I should state that my parents are conservative southern Christians (although not the church-going kind) and my dad has bought me the majority of my CD's. He has encouraged my music habit and I've never heard him say that I shouldn't listen to anything. So perhaps the fact that my father has bought me anything by Marilyn Manson and Slayer is pretty remarkable. Especially when you consider the fact that I was only thirteen when I got my first Manson.

My parents are awesome.

Anyway, Marilyn Manson's music pretty much ruled my life from the time I was in the sixth grade until I was in the ninth grade. After that I stopped listening to him so much. It's not that Manson got boring for me, but I'd already listened to everything he'd released up to that point about a dozen times and it was time to move on other things.

Just recently I decided to revisit the music of MM to try understand just what his music was about because I honestly had no idea for the longest time. I originally just listened to it because it was scary.

9. Eat Me, Drink Me (2007) - This is my second time with this list and there are a few changes. This one had been ranked second-to-last, but after a change of heart I dropped it to last. Quite frankly, I just don't like this album that much. It's just kind of boring. What songs I used to like from it now just kind of get on my nerves. 

If I Was Your Vampire 5:56
Putting Holes in Happiness 4:31
The Red Carpet Grave 4:05
They Said That Hell's Not Hot 4:17
Just a Car Crash Away 4:55
Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand) 5:05
Evidence 5:19
Are You the Rabbit? 4:14
Mutilation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery 3:52
You and Me and the Devil Makes 3 4:24
Eat Me, Drink Me 5:40

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Tim Sköld

8. The High End of Low (2009) - There are some really good songs on here like We're from America, Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon, and Running to the Edge of the World. While Eat Me, Drink Me was more goth-driven rock, The High End of Low is more Mechanical Animals-esque although quite a bit more personal. I like Marilyn Manson when he sounds like a normal human being just as much as the next person, but this album just feels a bit too long to me. A few less songs and a bit more bite could have done wonders. 

Devour 3:46
Pretty as a Swastika 2:45
Leave a Scar 3:55
Four Rusted Horses 5:00
Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon 3:39
Blank and White 4:27
Running to the Edge of the World 6:26
I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies 9:02
WOW 4:55
Wight Spider 5:33
Unkillable Monster 3:44
We're from America 5:04
I Have to Look Up Just to See Hell 4:12
Into the Fire 5:15
15 4:21

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, Chris Vrenna, Ginger Fish

7. Born Villain (2012) - I didn't have high hopes for this album at all. His past few releases had been underwhelming. When this album was released a lot of people said the same thing. I can't really disagree with them that much. Even the artwork looks bland. The first two songs are pretty good, though. Then Pistol Whipped kicks in and I just kind of... What was I listening to again? It's just such a bland-sounding song and this album trudges along the same path as many of his post-Holy Wood efforts. Although I do like the cover of You're So Vain

Hey, Cruel World... 3:44
No Reflection 4:36
Pistol Whipped 4:10
Overneath the Path of Misery 5:18
Slo-Mo-Tion 4:24
The Gardener 4:39
The Flowers of Evil 5:19
Children of Cain 5:17
Disengaged 3:25
Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms 4:13
Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day 4:18
Born Villain 5:26
Breaking the Same Old Ground 4:27
You're So Vain (Carly Simon cover) 4:02

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, Chris Vrenna, Fred Sablan

6. The Golden Age of Grotesque (2003) - This was considered to be the weakest and least controversial of Manson's work at the time of this album's release. I suppose that argument could still be made today, too. Now I don't listen to anything just because it's controversial. I listen to something because it is good and if it's thought-provoking then that's even better. The Golden Age of Grotesque strikes me as neither thought-provoking nor controversial, but it's still very good. Especially the first half.

Thaeter 1:14
This Is the New Shit  4:20
Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag 4:11
Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth 3:34
The Golden Age of Grotesque 4:05
(s)AINT 3:42
Ka-boom Ka-boom 4:02
Slutgarden 4:06
♠ 4:34
Para-noir 6:01
The Bright Young Things 4:19
Better of Two Evils 3:48
Vodevil 4:39
Obsequey (The Death of Art) 1:34

Line-up:  Marilyn Manson, John 5, Tim Sköld, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Ginger Fish

5. The Pale Emperor (2015) - The first song on this album didn't win me over at first. I heard it and just thought, "Again? What's with this blandness?" Even the artwork continued a trend of blandness. Then I listened to the second song Deep Six and began to get hopeful. When Third Day of a Seven Day Binge started playing I think I was won over. This may sound odd, but I was beginning to hear Marilyn Manson channel his inner-Jim Morrison on this album. The album, while still kind of glammy and industrial-sounding, has a very bluesy feel. When I listened to the album on a second listen Killing Strangers stood out a lot more and it actually started to remind me of early Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. This is the first time in a while I listened to a Marilyn Manson album the entire way through on the first time. And then bothered to listen to it again. 

I don't want to say Marilyn Manson is back, but he does still have a trick or two up his sleeve. I like this one. 

Killing Strangers 5:36
Deep Six 5:02

Third Day of a Seven Day Binge 4:26
The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles 4:57
Warship My Wreck 5:57
Slave Only Dreams to Be King 5:20
The Devil Beneath My Feet 4:16
Birds of Hell Awaiting 5:05
Cupid Carries a Gun 4:59
Odds of Even 6:22

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Tyler Bates, Gil Sharone

4. Portrait of an American Family (1994) - It's really hard to believe that this is where it all started. It's a simple hard rock album and not much more. There's no grand story or theme like there would be with Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals, Antichrist Superstar, or Holy Wood. In fact what Manson would become is only hinted at here with songs like Cake and Sodomy and Get Your Gunn. The artwork is not all that offensive and the album opens with a spoken-word reference to the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The album sounds fun and that's the only Manson album that I can really say that about.

Prelude (The Family Trip) 1:22
Cake and Sodomy 3:53
Lunchbox 4:34
Organ Grinder 4:22
Cyclops 3:32
Dope Hat 4:20
Get Your Gunn 3:17
Wrapped in Plastic 5:35
Dogma 3:26
Sweet Tooth 5:03
Snake Eyes and Sissies 4:07
My Monkey 4:31
Misery Machine* 13:09

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Daisy Berkowitz, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Sara Lee Lucas, Gidget Gein, Twiggy Ramirez

(*) the actual song ends at 5:03

3. Mechanical Animals (1998) - Marilyn Manson becomes a glam spaceman in this outing. Well, sort of. This album is Marilyn Manson's second concept album and it was the follow-up to the massive Antichrist Superstar. Needless to say that it wasn't quite received the same way and Marilyn Manson was accused of selling out by some of his fans. Then of course the controversy really kicked in once the Columbine Massacre happened a little under a year after this album's release and Marilyn Manson (even though the kids behind Columbine were not fans of his) along with Rammstein (there were mentions of Rammstein lyrics in Eric Harris's journal) and KMFDM (a comment found in Eric Harris's journal about the release date of the KMFDM album Adios being the exact same date that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold planned to do their deed) got thrown under the bus. Manson wrote about the subject here if you care to read his thoughts about being labeled an inspiration for mass murder.

At any rate, this album is a hidden gem. Glossier than anything the band had released up until the point, but it's still very good. This is also the first entry on my list to be a concept album. In fact it's the second part of a larger trilogy in the Manson catalog. The first chapter is Holy Wood, the second chapter is Mechanical Animals, and the last chapter is Antichrist Superstar.

According to Wikipedia the story line is:

In the album, Manson takes on two roles, being a substance addicted glam rocker and a gender ambiguous Alien called Omēga (pronounced oh-mee-gah) who, much like David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, falls down to earth, is captured, placed with a band called The Mechanical Animals and turned into a rock star product. He has become numb to the world, either lost or high in outer space or the Hollywood Hills, through excessive drug use as a coping mechanism with his life as a product of his corporate masters. Manson's other role is that of Alpha who is based on himself and his experiences around the conclusion of the Antichrist Superstar tour/era. Acting as Omēga's foil, Alpha's emotions have only begun seeping back. Vulnerable and trying to relearn how to use them properly, he despairs about how little emotion other people feel, observing them to be "mechanical animals". Both are looking to come back into the world - looking among the mechanical animals for the thing they need to make themselves whole. They call it Coma White, unsure if she is real or simply a drug induced hallucination. Subsequently, seven of the fourteen songs are from the perspective, lyrically and musically, of Omēga and his fictional band The Mechanical Animals, while the other seven are by Alpha (Marilyn Manson). The Omēga songs are typically those most nihilistic and superficial lyrically, such as "The Dope Show", "User Friendly" and "New Model No. 15". The album artwork features a dual liner note book, in which one half has lyrics for the Omēga songs, and when flipped over, has those for the Alpha songs.

Marilyn Manson later noted in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that "Mechanical Animals was to represent the point where the revolution got sold out, a hollow shell of what the essence of Marilyn Manson was. It was a satire, and a lot of people interpreted it as 'This is what he really is.' I was making a mockery of what I was, taking a shot at myself."

Great Big White World 5:01
The Dope Show 3:46
Mechanical Animals 4:33
Rock Is Dead 3:09
Disassociative 4:50
The Speed of Pain 5:30
Posthuman 4:17
I Want to Disappear 2:56
I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me) 5:03
New Model No. 15 3:40
User Friendly 4:17
Fundamentally Loathsome 4:49
The Last Day on Earth 5:01
Coma White 5:38
15.Untitled (data track) 1:22

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Ginger Fish, Zim Zum, John 5

2. Antichrist Superstar (1996) - What an incredibly dark and shocking album this was when I first heard it. But perhaps the most shocking thing is just how intelligent this album is. Groups like Slayer and Venom write songs about Satan and darkness in an attempt to sound evil, but they often just come off as being ignorant. I love Slayer and Venom, but they've never written anything extremely intelligent. There's no story with Slayer, but with Manson we get a story.

Now let's consult Wikipedia for the story line:

The three part storyline begins with the Crowleyean statement "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you". The backdrop is set to a landscape of 'victims' (the 'weak'; Nietzsche's 'slaves' in his Master-Slave morality) oppressed by "The Beautiful People" (the 'masters'), a kratocraticplutarchy whose power is, in a double entendre with phallic and religious connotation, "relative to the size of their steeple" and whose authority is Social Darwinism taken to the extreme—they are "justified" by the existence of the weak. Among that populace is an abused and insignificant wretch, the protagonist, called "The Worm", who develop aspirations to become one of the elite. However, he is rejected in as simple terms and after wallowing for a time in sorrow and self-pity concludes to exercise his will to power and seize authority with his own hands. The record proceeds to detail his rise to prominence presented in the metaphor of a worm to angel metamorphosis.

In his rise to power, he fashions himself into a charismatic demagogue and hierophant, the "Little Horn", to proselytize self-determination and self-realization and to usher in a new metanarrative in place of the hitherto reigning ideal. In spite of this, the Little Horn is self-punishing, with self-doubt still lingering from his dejected former self. The people respond to his revolution with adoration and blandishment. Thus, though he is successful in his aims, he is soon disillusioned and begins to despise those very adoring and sycophantic disciples when he comes to the realization that they are not interested in being saved and quite content to remain weak, imitative and oppressed. It's under this intolerable failure that he begins the final stage of his development. Dying in the manner of a caterpillar, the Little Horn rebirths himself under intense pressure, emptying his cocoon of the self-loathing, guilt and abuse that marked the Worm in harrowing fashion, to "get his wings".

Having transcended his lesser nature, all he has left is his bitterness and disenchantment. He has shed his ability to feel empathy for anyone and repurposes his newfound stature and confidence in becoming the penultimate culture war iconoclast, a Nietzschean Übermensch calling himself the"Antichrist Superstar" (or alternatively, "The Disintegrator"), having finally concluded that what the people truly want is what he sought to dispose of. They no longer deserve salvation. In this manner he adopts as his personal insignia the epithet "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you" as he lets his scathing vitriol spiral into nihilism and misanthropy, railing against and destroying everything. Spent and disconsolate, the "Minute of Decay" intimates that "I'm on my way down now, I'd like to take you with me. I'm on my way down" as he embarks on a final scorched earth campaign of apocalypse, delivering the condemnation, "your world is an ashtray, we burn and coil like cigarettes [...] it's the nature of the leeches, the virgins [to feel] cheated, you've only spent a second of your life" and contracting the world like the pupil of an eye into the size of a bullethole, "one shot and your world gets smaller". He begins to destroy everyone and everything including himself and his revolution, declaring, "pray your life was just a dream, the cut that never heals [...] the world in my hands, there's no one left to hear you scream [...] no one left for you". As he abrogates everything into nothingness, he begins to understand that "when all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed".

And that's the story of that one. 

Cycle I: The Heirophant
Irresponsible Hate Anthem 4:17
The Beautiful People 3:38
Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World 4:16
Tourniquet 4:29

Cycle II: Inauguration of the Worm
Little Horn 2:43
Cryptorchid 2:44
Deformography 4:31
Wormboy 3:56
Mister Superstar 5:04
Angel with the Scabbed Wings 3:52
Kinderfeld 4:51

Cycle III: Disintegrator Rising
Antichrist Superstar 5:14
1996 4:01
Minute of Decay 4:44
The Reflecting God 5:36
Man That You Fear 6:10
Track 99 (hidden track) 1:39

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, Daisy Berkowitz, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Ginger Fish, Zim Zum

1. Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) (2000) - Written largely as a response to the Columbine Massacre, Holy Wood combines lessons learned from Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals to create what I think is his strongest and most diverse album to date.

Now again I'll go to Wikipedia for the story line:

The album's plot is a "parable" that takes place in a thinly-veiled satire of modern America called "Holy Wood", which Manson has described as a Disneyesque amusement park the size of a city, where the main attraction is violence and sex. Its literary foil is "Death Valley", which is used as "a metaphor for the outcast and the imperfect of the world."

The central character is its ill-fated protagonist "Adam Kadmon", a figure borrowed from the Kabbalah, in which he is described as the "Primal Man". In the similar Sufic and Alevi philosophies, he is described as the "Perfect or Complete Man"—an archetype for humanity. He undertakes a journey out of Death Valley and into Holy Wood. Idealistic and naïve, he attempts a subversive revolution through music.

While disenchanted when his revolution is consumed by Holy Wood's ideology of "Guns, God and Government", he is co-opted into their culture of death and fame, where celebrity worship, violence, and scapegoatism are held as the moral values of a religion rooted in martyrdom. In this religion dead celebrities are venerated into saints and President John F. "Jack" Kennedy is idolized as the modern-day Christ.

This religion, called "Celebritarianism", is a deliberate parallel of Christianity. The intention is to critique the dead-celebrity phenomenon in American culture and the role that the Crucifixion of Jesus plays as its blueprint. This concept was extended to the worldwide Guns, God and Government Tour that supported the album; the tour's logo was a rifle and handguns arranged to resemble the Christian cross.

Manson told Rolling Stone that the storyline is semi-autobiographical. While it can be viewed on several levels, Manson states the simplest interpretation is to see it as a story about an angry youth whose revolution becomes commercialized, which leads him to "destroy the thing he has created, which is himself."

I'm not sure I have any idea what all of that means, but it sounds interesting.

A: In the Shadow
GodEatGod 2:34
The Love Song 3:16
The Fight Song 2:55
Disposable Teens 3:01

D: The Androgyne
Target Audience (Narcissus Narcosis) 4:18
President Dead 3:13
In the Shadow of the Valley of Death 4:09
Cruci-Fiction in Space 4:56
A Place in the Dirt 3:37

A: Of Red Earth
The Nobodies 3:35
The Death Song 3:29
Lamb of God 4:39
Born Again 3:20
Burning Flag 3:21

M: The Fallen
Coma Black: a. Eden Eye b. The Apple of Discord 5:58
Valentine's Day 3:31
The Fall of Adam 2:34
King Kill 33º 2:18
Count to Six and Die (The Vacuum of Infinite Space Encompassing) 3:24

Line-up: Marilyn Manson, John 5, Twiggy Ramirez, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Ginger Fish

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Breathless (Ddongpari)

I don't know how to begin. I really don't. Sometimes something is just too moving for words. Sure, critics are supposed to be objective and deconstruct magnificence by poking holes and nitpicking, but sometimes that just doesn't fly with me. Sometimes I watch something so amazing that I just can't accurately describe the emotion I feel from watching it. I feel moved right now and I don't give shit one or two about saying this movie was too long or whatever. As far as I am concerned this movie simply has no flaws. I was, cheesy as it may sound, quite breathless by the end. 

The movie is indeed a long one. At two hours and ten minutes it feels like an eternity in Hell. That is not an insult, though. Movies about abuse are the toughest for me to watch. I have watched two films about horrifying abuse before. One being Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door and the other being the Korean film Silenced. The former made me want to throw up, but the latter made me want to cry and hug a pillow. 

I am a man. I feel uncomfortable saying things like that. I often do, though. Not so much in real life because it can be embarrassing. In real life words hurt more because people see you face to face. It's easy to insult somebody (like so many Internet Warriors out there do) when you've never seen their face or don't have to see them in person the very next day. It's easy and a lot of the time I believe that the internet really is turning us into venomous people. Or at least "part-time" venomous people so that we can be saints when we are away from the computer. 

So, perhaps ironically, it is also easier to say things like "that made me want to cry" on the internet because we also don't have to look someone face to face while we say it. There's no judgement from "real people." Generally speaking, that is. The internet also enables us to be "part-time" sensitive people, I guess. 

In reality, I am probably a mixture of both venom and sensitive, but I've trying hard to not be so venomous towards other people. I'm a hermit for a reason, I guess. 

Breathless is a film about venom, the venom in people's lives that no one wants to talk about. It's about beating a daughter or a father or a sister or your soulmate. It's about the spread of hatred through violence and by violence I don't mean the kind of cartoonish violence a lot of people whine about from certain action or horror movies. I could watch Jason Voorhees behead a hundred floozies, but anytime I see a character hit a kid or a woman I can't stand it. It makes me rage. It makes me feel ill. 

Remember the scenes in The Godfather when the Vito's daughter kept getting abused both verbally and physically by her piece of shit husband? To me, that's horror. When I was younger and less mature I didn't really grasp what horror was. Zombies and staged scares and all that stuff? Nah, this movie is real horror. This is real violence and it is uncomfortable and extremely effective. I get it now. I didn't then, but I do now. 

I have this belief that men who hit women, children, or the elderly should have a special spot in Hell. Not that I really believe in Hell, but merely that there should be such a place for them. Breathless deals with all three topics and not subtly. There are a lot of beatings in this movie. Just so you know what you are getting yourself into. Please don't watch this with your children. You've been warned. 

First off, before I start in on the plot, I wanted to say that Yang Ik-june is masterful in this movie that he not only starred in, but directed, edited, and wrote as well. Not only that, but this was also his directorial debut. He nailed it on the first time out. Just truly an amazing feat.

It's said that this film is semi-autobiographical and if so my heart definitely goes out to the guy. I just hope he's not the complete asshole he is in this film. 

His character Sang-hoon is a loan shark. Chances are if you owe money he'll come by and rough you up real good. He also has some serious childhood trauma. As a child he witnessed his father abuse his mom and accidentally stab his sister when she came to his mom's rescue. 

Sang-hoon inherited his father's bad traits and beats up on people that owe money as well as his own father now that he is strong enough to do so and his father is old enough to regret the actions of his younger self. His father doesn't fight back. 

Sang-hoon spends time with his nephew when he can and tries to leave him money that he doesn't gamble away, but after one of his visits he runs into a high school girl named Yeon-hee and one of the more odd friendships I've seen is formed. 

Yeon-hee comes from a house where her brother is much the type of person that Sang-hoon is. Her father is a man that hasn't been the same since Vietnam and he often loses his temper on her. Her father even forgets that his wife is dead, killed by a group of loan sharks. Feeling alone in her own house she seeks refuge with Sang-hoon, one of the personality types that is ironically making her life a living hell. 

Yeon-hee and Sang-hoon both want to escape their situations, but they don't know how. Sang-hoon even less so. Sang-hoon is a terrible person, but he gradually seems to want to change. However, change doesn't come easy to someone with so much venom in their blood. His hatred towards his father and other people seems overbearing. There appears to be no hope for him. 

His unlikely friendship with Yeon-hee (whose family situation about which Sang-hoon doesn't even know) might be the key, though. He just needs to find the door. 

Bring those tissues, people. You'll need them. You will feel, as I do, quite moved and breathless. This movie is long and painful, but it is worth it. 

Few movies about living a shitty life have been made so well. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

One Piece (Wan Pīsu) (Seasons Eleven, Twelve, & Thirteen)

Hi there. I'm back again with another rousing entry in my ongoing adventures with Luffy & co. I promised myself that I wouldn't do another entry where I had to put down my thoughts for three seasons worth of material, but here I am breaking that promise. This entry is going to be a fairly long one, but not too long. I've only got 77 episodes to cover so that isn't too bad compared to the length of Water Seven/Enies Lobby.

If you have survived your filler journey to Spa Island for yet another boring encounter with the Foxy Pirates then you are ready for the visit to the Sabaody Archipelago. The story starts at episode 385 for those trying to keep the filler to a minimum. There will be a episodes of filler sprinkled in, but it is nothing at all compared to Naruto Shippuden. Filler here is a breeze. Just a few episodes and nothing more. 


At this point the Straw Hats are halfway across the Grand Line and their goal of getting to the New World seems within reach. The Straw Hats have become strong over the course of their journey and they've done some insanely stupid things like take on Enies Lobby single-handedly and defeat two Warlords of the Sea (Crocodile and Gecko Moria). At Sabaody Archipelago, Luffy's brashness almost puts an end to the Straw Hats for good as they find themselves in a situation out of which not even Luffy could fight.

This all happens because there is a bigass wall that separates the Grand Line and this is called the Red Line. The Red Line is more of an island that extends for miles above and below the water and it is impossible to just go around. Essentially it's a big fucking red wall. The Straw Hats need to go through the wall to continue their journey, but their log pose (which tells them where they need to go) tells them they need to go downward, as in under the water.

That kind of makes sense because they want to go to Fish-Man Island. Fish-Man Island sounds like it just might be underwater. Hmmm. How do they get there, though?

After running into the Fish-man and former Arlong Pirate Hatchan and saving his hide from certain doom, Hatchan leads the Straw Hats to Sabaody Archipelago where the crew can hopefully get their ship coated in such a way that would make their journey to Fish-Man Island something more than a pipe dream.

Sabaody is a dangerous environment, though. The island is crawling with bounty hunters because eleven of the most wanted pirates just happen to be on the island. Luffy and Zoro just happen to be two of them.

Sabaody is also home to the Celestial Dragons, a group of self-righteous pricks that believe they're better than everyone because they've been spoon fed since birth and told by just about everyone that they are the roots of all humanity. You can't touch them, you can't cross their paths, and you can't even think bad about them without punishment. If you do they'll sell your ass into slavery or kill you. Not too different from your average GOP'er, really.

One of Hatchan's friends gets kidnapped because Fish-Men are frowned on by most people on Sabaody. It's a racial thing. In this case it is a mermaid named Camie and mermaids just happen to be very valuable. So Camie is going to be sold at the human auction on Sabaody. Human auctions occur frequently on Sabaody, by the way. Sounds like a great place to vacation, right? Well, maybe if places like Tennessee and Alabama are your destinations for fun. 

In order to rescue Camie and avenge an uncalled for attack on Hatchan, Luffy loses his shit and punches one of the Celestial Dragons square on the face and catapults him straight across the room.

Shit, meet fan. Fan, meet shit. It's on.

The human auction turns into an all-out brawl as the Straw Hats and other groups of pirates are now in a fight against bounty hunters and the Navy and two other very terrifying foes worthy of their own mention. This time it's not only the Navy but Admiral Kizaru and Warlord of the Sea Bartholomew Kuma that join the fun. However, it seems there are multiple Bartholomew Kumas walking around on the island. How is that even possible?

One by one the Straw Hats appear all but eliminated as Bartholomew Kuma's touch causes them to disappear. Not even the great Dark King Silvers Rayleigh, Gol D Roger's second-in-command, can help the Straw Hats because his hands are full with Kizaru.

The last to disappear is Luffy.

The Straw Hats are dead and gone thanks to Bartholomew Kuma's touch.

Or are they?


Luffy wakes up to find himself on an island of women who haven't seen a man before. In fact, men are forbidden on this particular island. These aren't just normal women, though. These women are Amazonians and they can kick ass. They also happen to be loyal subjects of Boa Hancock, a Warlord of the Sea. Bartholomew Kuma's ability allows him to send people flying through the sky for three days and nights so the Straw Hats are not dead after all. Lucky. They just happen to be in completely different locations and really far away from each other. Not so lucky. 

Luffy, after being nursed back to health before anyone realized he was a man (huh?), is on the run for being a man (ah, feminists). The biggest problem for him is that the island he is on is in the middle of the Calm Belt and only a specially modified Navy ship can get him off the island. 

Naturally, he goes to Boa Hancock for help, but Boa Hancock is not about to help him and Luffy is subsequently forced into the ring to be killed by Boa Hancock's snake sisters. Luffy isn't just an ordinary fighter, but the snake sisters have some sort of power that Luffy recognizes from Sabaody. Their hits hurt him in ways he can't defend despite his devil-fruit powers. He's getting his ass kicked. 

It seems only a miracles can save him, but Luffy has one last trick up his sleeve that he doesn't even know about yet. It's called Haki. 

The arc ends with Luffy and Boa Hancock and the snake sisters coming to a mutual alliance. It would seem they've more in common then they had previously thought and that Boa Hancock even has feelings for Luffy. You have to see it to believe it. 

When Luffy discovers that his brother Portgaz D. Ace is about be executed he begs for Boa Hancock's help. All she has to do is smuggle him on the nearby Navy ship and then smuggle him into Impel Down, the world's most formidable prison. Boa Hancock can do that since she is a Warlord, but it certainly won't be an easy task. 

Impel Down is a multi-level Hell and the Warden Magellan uses infamous poison powers that make him impossible to touch. If it comes to a fight Luffy just can't win that one. Level one is on the surface, but each of the other levels are deeper below the sea and they all hold their own characteristics. Portgaz D. Ace is being held on the lowest level, Level 6. That's where all of the real, REAL bad guys get imprisoned. 

When it is time for Ace's execution he'll be placed on a Navy ship and taken to Navy HQ, Marineford. So Luffy only has so much time to get to Ace before his execution. 

Surprisingly, Boa Hancock agrees to help Luffy in getting to Impel Down. Ah, love. 

Rescuing Ace would be another matter, though. 


This is it. What is quite possibly the most epic and strangest arc we've come across so far. We have it all. Luffy makes it safely into the prison, but he is on his own. Boa Hancock can help him no further if she wants to maintain her cover as a loyal Warlord of the Sea. That doesn't mean he can't find help.

Buggy the Clown, Mr. 3, and Bon Clay all find their way into Luffy's makeshift group of escapees, but Mr. 3 and Buggy aren't so thrilled about having to venture deeper into the prison just to help Ace escape.  Mr. 3 and Buggy look for every chance to escape on their own, but it would seem fate and a bit of deux ex machina hinder their efforts to break away from Straw Hat.

Inevitably, their hijinks gets brought to Warden Magellan's attention. With Luffy and his tenuous alliance on Level 4, Magellan is very serious about them not making it any further into the prison.

But Luffy is quickly overpowered by the Warden's poison power and his group has finally deserted him with the exception of Bon Clay. With Luffy's unconscious body placed on Level 5, Bon Clay does everything within his power to search for the only one that can help him, the Queen of Queers! I'm talking about Emporio Ivankov. The Queen of Queers. Well, this is never getting a proper dub.

With a bit of luck, Luffy and Bon Clay discover the infamous prisoner Ivankov and his hidden Gay Club dubbed "Level 5.5." Seriously, this is never making it to America on television. It's there that Luffy is healed although not without precious time being consumed. Ace's execution is only hours away and Luffy and Bon Clay still have another level to cross. Ivankov, after discovering that Luffy and Ace are the sons of Monkey D. Dragon, chooses to help him. So Luffy and an army of queers and transvestites make their way deeper into the prison.

But by the time they get there Ace is gone and Warden Magellan has wisely trapped them down on Level 6. That's not to say they are done-for, though. Help is going to come from a very unlikely source. Former Warlords of the Sea Jinbei and Crocodile offer Luffy their help. Jinbei because he is a friend of Ace and Whitebeard, but Crocodile's motives are a bit more self-serving. Still, help is help.

Meanwhile, Buggy and Mr. 3 have started a riot on Level 2.

You'd think this is as complicated as thing might get, but then Blackbeard himself decided to break into Impel Down.

What the hell is going on?

To make a longer post shorter, Luffy and his gang of rebels break free from Impel Down thanks to an amazing and moving sacrifice from Bon Clay, who opts to stay behind in order to open the large Gates of Justice that will allow Luffy to pass through in the stolen Navy ship.

However, they are now stuck inside of a triangle that only has three exits. One of them is Impel Down and the other two are Enies Lobby and Marineford. Marineford just happens to be where Ace will be executed. And only by having someone open the Gates of Justice can they escape their situation.

Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire. Having escaped Impel Down the escapees must now go to Navy HQ somehow and do battle with some pretty terrifying Admirals and possibly Warlords.

But with guys like Mr. 3, Mr. 1, Crocodile, Buggy, Ivankov, and Jinbei on his side, Luffy might just stand a chance.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I can't remember exactly how long ago, but I do know that sometime within the last eight months I purchased all of the Harry Potter movies on blu-ray. My intent was to watch them all within a week and review each one. However, I only managed to watch the first film before I put off the rest of the movies until I almost forgot I even had all of the movies to begin with. When you have over five hundred movies in your collection and countless more in your queue it's fairly easy to not remember how many and just what movies you have or don't have. That's why making out a Christmas list is always a pain for me because half the time I don't know what movies I have.

I'm going to stop myself before I go any further off topic. Long story short, I can barely remember the first movie and I have just recently watched the second movie. In both cases they were first time viewings and all of the rest of the films in the series will be first time viewings, too.

I really avoided the Harry Potter stuff because I couldn't stand all of the fanboys when I was in school. I mean, they weren't just into Harry Potter, but they were way into it. Like I am with anime. Wizards, in my estimation, just seemed lame. Even in anime there's nary a mention of wizards with wands and witches riding brooms and all that hubub. Magic, sure, but not the out and out silliness of made-up names like Dumbledore and Hogwarts. It just seemed like kid stuff at a time (of course, I was a kid in 2002) when I wanted to watch stuff that was gory and bloody. I wanted suspense, not wizards with silly names. I know there's a double standard somewhere considering my fondness of anime at the time versus the fondness others had towards wizards. I always try to keep in mind that everyone is a nerd on some level these days and sometimes I forget, but I was twelve at the time so give me a break. 

However, I draw the line at bronies. 

Harry Potter being mainstream was also one of the reasons I put off The Lord of the Rings for the longest time. It was all way too mainstream for myself at the time and I still make it a habit to avoid a lot of things that are mainstream. Since my younger years were ruled with Britney Spears and NSYNC being the rage I always made it a point to avoid popular stuff.

However, I did buy the blu-ray set of Harry Potter for the same reason I bought the blu-ray set of The Lord of the Rings. It was just time to give them a watch. I was older and more mature and ready to eviscerate or praise the movies based on their own merits and not what annoyed me as a kid. 

I had never read the books (that should seem obvious) and I really don't plan on doing so. So these movies better be good. 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a fairly decent film. It's the second in the series and chronicles Harry's second year in Hogwarts. Faces familiar from the first film like Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and John Cleese are back, but neither of them really get any screen time. It's unfortunate. Much of our time is spent following Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. This makes sense considering that the story is about Harry Potter, but these kids are between twelve and fourteen years old. Their acting is pretty good considering their ages and I imagine they get better with each movie, but sometimes it is like watching kids play around on a movie set. Younger folks probably enjoy(ed) this film a lot, but it is a very long one. It took about forty minutes for this movie to mention the term "Chamber of Secrets" so there is definitely some running length issues. I personally don't feel this movie had to be 161 minutes. Can you imagine kids sitting through a movie that long? 

However, it is enjoyable. There's certainly plenty of spectacle and it isn't boring despite its meandering. The effects are good for its time. The music isn't much different from the first film. I'm just not sure it was worth all of the insane hype over a decade. Watchable and enjoyable, but not "OMG, Harry freaking Potter is awesome!!!!" kind of thing. The best thing about this movie could very well be the mention of the Japanese Golfer Joke. I had to Google that and had a good chuckle. 

Of course, the familiar name of Voldemort (or He Who Should Not Be Named) will be thrown around and he'll even make an appearance, too. I swear that guy gets killed off and brought back more that Sauron. 

This would unfortunately mark the final time we see Richard Harris as Dumbledore since he passed away in 2002 just before this film's release. Apparently, they got Michael Gambon to replace him for the third movie and onwards. I guess I'll see how well that transition got pulled off. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Naruto Shippuden (Seasons Sixteen & Seventeen)

With Naruto Shippuden heading into its final hurrah, I believe this will be my second to last post about the anime. It's certainly been a lot of fun as well as a lot of frustration. At its best Naruto (the series as a whole) is an excellent anime with some really well-rounded characters and great fights, but the filler has diluted so much and Naruto Shippuden is getting worse and worse on that front. I'll be glad when this series is over. Maybe one day I'll pick up the manga and I won't be as frustrated with it. 

Season sixteen is a thirteen episode filler arc about Kakashi's time in the ANBU Black Ops. As far as filler goes it is definitely one of the better filler arcs. You also get to see a young Yamato in action and hopefully by this point in the series you will not have forgotten about him. He won't get mentioned again for a long time. 

Season seventeen consists of only ten episodes (362-372), but a lot actually happens in those ten episodes. We all know that Obito has been working for Madara the entire time (even if Madara hasn't actually been alive the entire time) and Obito's goal has been to resurrect the Ten Tails in order to become its Jinchuuriki. Once that is accomplished he can finish Project Tsukuyomi and create a screwed up kind of world peace at last. One where all of the people are essentially brainless zombies. 

Of course, the Allied Shinobi Forces won't let that happen without a fight. 

The Ten Tails isn't a pushover, though. Remember that not only are the reanimated Madara and Obito on the battlefield, but so is the Ten Tails. The first act of the Ten Tails is to kill Neji in what is probably the most important Naruto death since both Itachi and Jiraiya died. Feels will be felt. 

Grab those tissues, people!

Things are looking hopeless for Naruto and the Allied Shinobi Forces. 

However, there is hope, but it is in a very unbelievable form. Sasuke has traveled back to Konoha and has resurrected the previous Four Hokage with help from Orochimaru. He essentially listens to what First Hokage Hashirama has to say about the origins of Konoha and his relationship with the Uchiha and Madara in particular. 

While a not so subtle way of giving Hashirama and Madara's full backstory to the audience, this is certainly fascinating stuff and one of the reasons why flashbacks within Naruto can be used quite effectively when not reduced to pointless filler. The story of Madara and Hashirama is excellent. From their friendship to their rivalry it is exactly the kind of stuff that Naruto fans watch for. 

After listening to Hashirama's story, Sasuke decides he is going to save the village from Madara and Obito. He also decides to become the new Hokage of the Leaf Village, if you can believe that. 

Talk about your change in perspective. 

So Sasuke, the Four Hokage, and Orochimaru all travel to the sight of the battlefield just as the Ten Tails is about to unleash some horrific doom on the shinobi. 

Not only are Naruto and Sasuke reunited again as allies, but Naruto also meets his father Minato for the first time in the real world. 

The feels. Oh, the feels. 

That's all I've got to say for now, but I'll be back again for what will hopefully the resolution of this anime before too long. It's been fun, but I'm ready for the end. No more filler. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Suspect (Yonguija)

Ji Dong-chul is a defector from North Korea that spends his time trying to find the man that killed his wife and daughter. When he isn't doing that he maintains a simple job as a driver and chauffeurs around Chairman Park. One night Park is murdered, but Dong-chul finds him in his last moments by pure happenstance and his boss gives him a pair of glasses and tells him to "bury it." Although he isn't too sure what Park meant by that last statement he doesn't have much time to think as the South Korean Intelligence Service barges in and he is forced to run for his life. 

Whatever the glasses are is important to someone inside of South Korea and North Korea and both sides seem to want to be rid of Dong-chul because of his possession of them. Using Dong-chul's past with North Korea as the perfect scapegoat, the director of NIS covers up the real cause of Park's death and pins the murder solely on Dong-chul. Yeah, you'll really hate that director guy. 

The man put in charge of the capture of Dong-chul is Min See-hoon, a man that bears a scar and a grudge against the defector. He seems willing to do anything it takes to get his revenge against Dong-chul, but he also isn't as crooked as some of his comrades. 

With all of the characters in place the chase is on. 

While not one of the greats, The Suspect is certainly a film that will please fans of James Bond and Jason Bourne. The camera work is definitely of the shaky variety and the running time is about fifteen minutes too long, but it isn't as bad compared to Michael Bay films. This is a film that is over the top with the car chases and the intrigue even to the point that it can be a bit tough to keep up with, but it certainly is fun. 

I don't even know how many fists fights or car chases there were, but there a lot. However, this film really finds its pace when it slows things down a bit in the final half of the movie and the characters get their chance to actually become more than people that just run around causing explosions. 

The originality from many other Korean films isn't there and this film feels more American than anything else, but it still retains enough bite and grit to make it a good movie on its own. The ending itself is also fairly satisfying. 

Gong Yoo is the guy that portrays and Ji Dong-chul and you might recognize him from the film Silenced (The Crucible). You might, but I didn't. To be fair I kind of blocked that movie from my memory because that one just fucked with me too much. However, this Gong Yoo guy is real good and this was the movie he made right after Silenced. Both are worth watching, but Silenced is something else entirely. 

However, if you want the action and something that doesn't give you a chance to get too depressed then this film will do the trick. 

Yu-Gi-Oh!, Vol. 6: Monster Fight! by Takahashi Kazuki

I had a very weird moment while I was going through this volume. Yu-Gi-Oh! is a dear part of my childhood, to be sure, but I always thought of it as something that both adults and children could enjoy. Although the manga does have a harder edge and some violence it still has plenty of occasions where it'd be perfect for kids to read. The focus on the popular card game is there, but there's also plenty of other games and the rules to them are spelled out fairly clear in the back of each volumes or by the characters. 

Anyway, this weird moment made me think, "If I ever have kids this would be a cool thing to teach them." I've never really thought stuff like that before with any sort of seriousness attached to the idea. Dear God, am I actually thinking about deeper and more meaningful stuff than fan service? 

These games would be great fun in real life with the exception of the rules that dictate you lose either life, limb, or sanity if you lose in the game. Had this series focused a bit more on the darker stuff this would make an excellent horror series. It has its moments, though. 

One of my favorite chapters from this volume was the game of Clock Solitaire. It's kind of short, but it features a date between Anzu and Yugi. Of course, this date ends in disaster as a terrorist threatens to blow up a ferris wheel if someone doesn't play a game with him. It just so happens that Anzu is trapped on the ferris wheel at the time and it is up to Yugi to play the game in order to save her. 

There are a few good chapters here and there, but nothing with real meat on it until we get to the ending and meet Bakura for the first time. This will mark the second time in this series that someone else with a Millenium item has been introduced into the series, but this time could be the last time for Yugi and his friends.

Bakura is a quiet guy, but his Millenium Ring has a personality that is a lot less savory than that of the pharaoh stuck in the Millenium Puzzle. Bakura's dark side wants to trap all of Yugi's friends into miniature game pieces and keep them for all eternity so they can do his bidding. 

Yugi and his friends begin to play his game of role-playing unaware of just what will happen to them if they lose. They are playing a shadow game without knowing. The real question is how long will it be before Yugi's other self wakes up and comes along to save the day?

I won't find out until the next volume. Successfully cliffhangered. 

The Loss List Part II

A while back I made a list of the most devastating football losses I'd had the opportunity to witness. This was back in 2011, actually. Now it is 2015 and I have a few more to add. You can find the old list here

I suppose that I was inspired to make another list after witnessing the Packers dissolve against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. Packers fans are probably still in shock and will be for quite some time, but they aren't the only ones to watch their team cough one up on one of the biggest of stages. Especially to the Seahawks. 

So let's make a list, shall we?

  • Super Bowl XLVIII - When the Colts lost their Super Bowl to the Saints I was devastated. I still hate the damn Saints to this day because of it. However, the Colts were competitive in that game. The Colts were in it and probably should have won it if not for the fact that they just got outcoached. The onside kick right after halftime is especially memorable. The interception was another thing that I got to see endlessly replayed. That loss was bad. The loss in Super Bowl XLVIII, though... Peyton Manning's third Super Bowl can't even be described with words. I still cannot fathom this Super Bowl. I just wonder from time to time how the fuck it happened. This wasn't just a bad game, but one of the ugliest games I'd ever seen. I couldn't even blog about this one and I still don't like talking about it. I don't hate the Seahawks, though. I just hate the game. 
  • 2013 Iron Bowl - It's known as the Kick Six because of the infamous final play. A missed field goal returned for a game winning touchdown is probably one of the more shocking ways to lose a game, but it's all the more shocking when overtime was within easy reach. Alabama is notorious for terrible field goal attempts, but this one was an insane distance. Just go to overtime. That's all they had to do. Maybe they still would have lost, but there's no way I could trust our kickers to win the game from that distance. Something terrible could have happened and so of course something terrible did happen. Sure, no one probably could guess the kick would have been taken back for six, but... That's just the way the ball bounces sometimes. The following loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl didn't sting anywhere near as much as this one. 
  • 2015 Sugar Bowl - Alabama were up 21-6 at one point. It was unfortunately a short-lived moment where the right ending was in sight and actually possible. I could practically see us winning the game and putting Urban Meyer out of his misery. We were going to whip their ass. Yet Ohio State buckled down and rose to the occasion and made me remember just how much frustration Blake Sims had caused me over the course of the year. The pick 6 that put Ohio State up by a score of 34-21 made me turn the TV off and go to bed. It was written on the wall for me and when I found out the score the next day it didn't surprise me at all. Truly a disappointment. 
  • 2012 Texas A&M at Alabama - This game made me hate Johnny Manziel. If not for a set of miracles that revived our chances at a National Championship this game would have been the end of our hopes. We got lucky, though. I think our luck was completely used up in 2011 and 2012 because we managed to get into the big game despite having otherwise devastating losses, but we haven't managed to do so since. Losing to Texas A&M and Johnny Football made me go on a huge rant on this blog. You can find it here
  • 2012 Divisional AFC Playoff Mile High Miracle - The double OT time shocker that sent the Ravens to Foxboro seems a bit dull to my memory now after the epic meltdown the Broncos suffered when they finally made it to the Super Bowl, but there's certainly room for it on this list. 
  • 2014 Divisional AFC Playoff Indianapolis at Denver - No cool nickname here. Just an ass-whipping put on Peyton Manning by a team that I found myself struggling to completely root against. I wanted Peyton Manning to win and have one last shot at another ring, but that wasn't to be and the Colts wouldn't get a ring, either. I just don't know what to feel about this game. Certainly nothing good came of it for either team. 
  • 2014 AFC Championship Game - Whether or not the balls were deflated I don't think anyone can argue just how manhandled the Colts were in this one. The Colts, before they got rid of Manning, at least used to play the Patriots close and give a good game. Sometimes they even won. However, the Luck-led Colts have gotten their asses handed to them time and again. Luck, in the hands of the Patriots, looks more like Tim Tebow and I wonder just why Peyton Manning parted ways with the Colts. Luck is good, but Manning is the only one who really stands a shot against the Patriots outside of his brother Eli and maybe Joe Flacco. He doesn't always win, but I've seen him fight. Anyone remember the 2006 AFC Championship game? The 4th and 2 game? Those were the days. 

The 2014 football season came to real crummy ending for all of my teams so don't feel bad Packers fans. You aren't alone.