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.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Last Post

It's absolutely crazy to think that this blog hasn't been deleted yet.  I've had it for so long that I actually forgot about it.  Unfortunately that's just the downside of working and having to pay for bills in a household of three... Not that I have kids. Like a moron I'm letting my parents live with me. Probably a bit of karma coming to bite me in the butt. 

I barely watch anime these days. I barely watch movies. A lot of times I just work sleep, eat, and maybe in my spare time play a little video game. 

I still play my Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle
game after all these years. I will probably play it until the game shuts down. Who knows how long that will be. I still play some guitar but only on days when I feel like it.   

But mostly I'm just a working stiff. Yay. 

All in all my life is just uneventful chaos. There isn't really anything to write about anymore. I'm pretty boring.

But I think all works should have a conclusion, no? And my blog deserves a final FINAL post. I enjoyed it when I was really doing it every day. 

If you are reading this then this blog is no longer active. Hasn't been for a few years, but there is some cool stuff here and there. Nothing groundbreaking, mind you, but it is something to kill time while waiting in a doctor's office or DMV waiting area. 

I won't be deleting this blog, but this is the last post for now and forever on this blog. 

BYE BYE 👋 👋 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? (On the Side)

A few years ago I made this blog entry found here. Recently I rewatched the series after downloading the Crunchyroll mobile game called DanMachi: Memoria Freese because that game is essentially a real fun gacha game adaptation of the anime.
Our beautiful main character.
Since I am an Amazon Prime member (despite the stupid rise in price) I've also been aware of the spinoff anime called Sword Oratoria available for streaming and I thought that now would be a great time to watch it. I hate the fact that the two different series can't be streamed on the same site, but I guess that's just the business end of streaming world at work.

This particular series takes place during the same time as the first series, but the story follows the character of Ais Wallenstein while the main character from the first series Bell Cranel isn't featured much. When the two characters meet up it is the same situations we remember from the first time around, but this time the viewpoint is different and we get to know what Ais is really thinking. It's a neat trick and it works. 

We're limited to a small number of episodes in this series much like the first one, but with the focus on different characters we also get a different feeling and tone. 

Ais Wallenstein is scarcely an underdog and her teammates are also stupidly powerful. Bell was the lovable loser, but this cast is the overpowered squad. All these guys can journey down to level 59 whereas Bell struggled with levels in the teens. 

However Ais is an interesting enough character. She struggles with a part of her past which is vaguely hinted at during later parts of the series. Her encounters with Bell are also the highpoint of the series even though they aren't the primary focus. 

The annoying sidekick...
although this card is amazing in the game.
Essentially, we get to look at the inner workings of the world of Oratoria and how they relate to Ais and the Lokia Familia. Which is great, but in some places it feels more like Log Horizon then DanMachi. Not that that's a bad thing, but the pacing in this series dragged down a bit by the talking. 

With all of the main characters being so strong there is a lack of the immediacy that made the first series so compelling. There's just not that much tension. The villains in this series don't really get a time to shine before either being swiftly defeated or just admitting defeat and going into hiding. And that makes for a mediocre series most of the time. 

This series would also be a lot better if the supporting character Lefiya Viridis wasn't a complete annoyance for most of the series. She gets better after she's introduced to Filvis (who should have had more screen time!) and the two of them bond, but it's hard to imagine that such a whiny and terrified character could be so damn overpowered. 

Her magic could destroy an entire city of bad guys, but she spends so much of the series whining about Ais Wallenstein not giving her enough attention that it becomes a real pet peeve. Once Lefiya loses the inferiority complex and actually contributes the fights instead of crying in fear she becomes a much better character. 

I think the main difference between these two series is that Bell didn't know the potential he had but fought anyway while Lefiya knew how strong she could be but was too afraid to fight. 

When this series does end we are not quite caught up to end of the first series, but fairly close and there is quite a bit of material left loose or sequels in the future. 

However, I hope most of this material can be covered in a sequel to the main series that features Bell because I find that idea to be much more interesting then yet another spinoff with the overpowered squad. 

Granted I know Bell will probably get stupid powerful too, but he's a much more interesting character and has so much more potential in terms of story. I want to see how far he can push Ais and vice versa. Lefiya needs a bit more of a character makeover before she can be the lead in an anime series.

I'd give this series a low B if I had to assign a letter. I enjoyed it, but it felt like a chore sometimes and the first series did things better. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Deep Purple - InFinite (2017)

Five years after making one of their best efforts in over a decade with 2013's Now What!?, the Purple ones returned to the studio in hopes to add another impressive chapter to their already legendary catalog. The result of their efforts is InFinite.

Despite its seemingly politically-charged opener and brilliantly epic Time for Bedlam (which is somewhat reminiscent of The Spanish Archer), InFinite is actually a fairly carefree rock album. Perhaps there's no more appropriate proof of that than their cover of The Doors classic Roadhouse Blues. The cover seemed to be suggested by their producer Bob Ezrin. He told them to go in and just play a song they liked and they settled on that one. It makes for a strange inclusion on the album since they haven't put covers on their album since their early days, but it is by no means a bad one. I liked their cover. Although I can't help but wonder what kind of fire they'd put into this song if they had done it back in the day. 

Johnny's Band (and its humorous music video) is about a rock band that once hit it big and then fell down in epic fashion. Although, the music video is certainly a reference to the Purple ones and their history, I felt more as if the song itself was a reference to one hit wonders... which Purple most certainly are not. I do think the song is a bit of fun poked at the fact that people sometimes claim they are one when they mention Smoke on the Water as their only "hit" and they were finished after they had it. Still, the song is fun and something to not take too seriously regardless. 

All I Got Is You is probably my favorite song from this release. It's some of Gillan's best vocals on the album (next to The Surprising) and the band really does kill it with the musical breaks between verses. And I personally think the lyrics are beautifully vicious. Hip Boots and On Top of the World are a bit silly

When I finished listening to this album I was really glad that Deep Purple had managed to release another stellar album, but I admit that this one didn't quite have the same punch as Now What!?. Part of that could be because the emotions felt by Jon Lord's passing made Now What!? a bit special. It was a glorious tribute album to him and songs like Above and Beyond and Uncommon Man were just so damn beautiful. InFinite doesn't quite reach that level, but I don't think we should expect it to. I also don't think anyone should expect this to be Fireball Part II or Machine Head Part II. If you are still waiting for that you'll be waiting a long time yet. 

This is Deep Purple for the modern day and they are still kicking ass and they do it quite well. 

Time for Bedlam 4:35
Hip Boots 3:23
All I Got Is You 4:42
One Night in Vegas 3:23
Get Me Outta Here 3:58
The Surprising 5:57
Johnny's Band 3:51
On Top of the World 4:01
Birds of Prey 5:47
Roadhouse Blues 6:00

Line-up: Ian Gillan, Steve Morse, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Don Airey

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

What is going on, everybody? It is time to break the silence for my first post of 2017! 

It's terrible that my blog has been collecting dust, but I just haven't been in a blogging mind for a while. I think I might've mentioned some issues I was going through earlier here or maybe elsewhere so I won't dwell on that here right now.

For now it is time to dish out the goods on some anime. Let's get to it. 

I cannot speak for the new theatrical Ghost in the Shell movie where Scarlett Johansson portrays the incomparable Major (since I have not seen it yet), but I can tell you that the original Ghost in the Shell anime film that debuted in 1995 is a revered classic. 

For the sake of this review I am going to pretend the new live action movie does not exist to avoid any and all confusion. When I refer to Ghost in the Shell I am talking about the original movie and nothing else. 

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is an anime film that debuted in 2004 and... well, it's not quite a classic. That's not to say it is a bad film, but it is a really strange brew. Normally, sequels that get thrown out in the world nearly a decade after the originals just don't have the same grip. Perhaps it is a bit like wearing the same hat too long. After a while the spark just isn't there and it is best to let the fire die. 

However, the amount of time that passed in the real world between these films doesn't really hurt this movie. I think the same exact crew handled both movies and the cool thing about animation is you don't have to see the new wrinkles on the voice actor's faces. 

Bad CGI does do this film some damage, though. I love animation (obviously) and I do not mind CGI if it is used properly and looks visually pleasing, but what I saw in this movie just didn't cut the mustard with me. This does date this movie somewhat. Unlike the original this film doesn't look like it could be made today. 

The dialog in this movie is dense with obscure (and even made up) quotes, but Ghost in the Shell has always been fairly dense in both plot and dialog. Still, the quotes did seem a bit more obvious and forced this time around. 

Of course, the biggest thing about this movie is that the mythical Major Motoko Kusanagi is largely absent from this film. I don't want to spoil things, but there's a reason she isn't here and if you watched the original film you know why, more or less.  

Not having her in this film does hurt it a lot because she's obviously the pulse of Ghost in the Shell and so much of this film is spent hoping that she shows up. So much so that the film doesn't really get to be appreciated along the way for what it really is. 

I did like the film, though. Batou was the obvious choice to make the new lead for the film and he did fine with Togusa as the support. Batou is the cliched drunken loner and Togusa is the straight-laced family man and they made a fine team. They are not the Major, but then no one is. It's just a pity that almost no depth of character was given to them this time around. 

The story also isn't quite as complex as the one in the previous movie and it did not quite pack the same dramatic punch, but it didn't leave me feeling let down, either. I just missed the immense depth I felt from the first movie. Sure, I can watch this over and over again and still enjoy it to a degree, but I won't really gain anything from it like I do with each repeat viewing of the original film. 

All in all, this is a decent entry in the Ghost in the Shell franchise, but it feels more like a spin-off than a true sequel. Perhaps The Adventures of Batou and Togusa: A Ghost in the Shell Story might've been a better title.

Thanks for reading my blog. Hope you have a nice day. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 In A Nutshell

How have you been? I have been quiet this year. Quite quiet. I try to be genuine on my blog since it is usually the only place I feel I can be genuine, but I suppose that I just couldn't spitball and shoot jokes off the cuff like I used to for a good while. I couldn't review much of anything because I could not focus. I could not focus because my mind had drifted off elsewhere. 

In a sense 2016 has been a very dark period for me. 

But I suppose everyone gets a good fall every now and then and getting up is hard sometimes. 

As a person I am an introvert. I try to use humor to make my interactions with other people easier, but when I'm not feeling funny I am a dreadful bore to be around. Unpleasant, even. I just want to be left alone and by myself most of the time. And when I do want company I am unsure and afraid of trying to ask for it. 

I suppose everyone is their own worst critic, but I am truly my own worst enemy. 

I think the reason it was so hard for me to recover this year was because I stood in my own way. I do many things the right way and still tell myself something is still wrong. Which they are because no one is perfect, but sometimes saying that isn't good enough. 

But when I really do something wrong like trusting the wrong people my self-criticism is pretty much crippling. 

I fell short of my standards this year. Far short. 

But... I wouldn't allow myself to get back up and that made things even worse. 

As of this writing, I've pretty much regained my inner zen. I am fine. As long as I stay within my safe haven. 

If I can just avoid the users and abusers of this world I will stay fine. Of course, I cannot avoid evil people completely, but I can limit my contact and touch with them. 

A few months ago there was a new hire at the company I work at, but he did not work there long. He murdered somebody. I saw it on the news. He was an 18 year old kid I had seen only a few hours at work before he did his deed. I told him to wash his dishes and then go on home, but he did not go home. He went somewhere, but not home, I imagine. In the early hours of the day he killed someone and it was clearly not in defense. 

I saw him on the news, contradicting himself as the cameras were held to his face. The police escorting him made the mistake of taking to the wrong car and so the murderer got to have even more camera time where he talked and talked about just casually killing someone in his ghetto-talk. 

Obviously, he lost his job after his 15 minutes of fame. 

I knew he was a piece of shit from the get-go, but even then I didn't quite think he was a murderer. Still, I've worked with seedy people before and I know I work with some thieves at this very moment. It's scary. Very scary. Still, to have worked with a murderer is shocking. 

People like that are the reason I just shut myself off and stick to anime and manga and music and movies. 

And that very thought is what got me back on my feet again. Interactions just are not my thing, it seems. I got burned this year by two people. Burned bad and I did not know how to handle it. They were not murderers or anything like that, but they were abusers of trust. 

It was my fault for associating with them, but I've learned my lesson. I know what people are capable of now. To quote Dr. Cox from Scrubs, "People are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling."

I'm standing on my own two feet again and I am happy to be focused again. I may not sound happy, but I am. 

I am very glad 2016 is coming to an end. I am hoping 2017 won't be a bastard, but I am learning quickly how to handle bastards. 

I apologize if this entry sounded bleak or cryptic. Christmas is almost upon us and I am feeling festive, but I also know that my mother is sick right now. There's no tree for us this year. Probably not any gifts, either. And there are some rotten people in this world stealing money from people that trust them and they get away with it. 

And Goddamn it, if Donald Trump is president-elect....

This world can seem so beautiful, but it's hard to think it isn't completely wicked, too.