Entry #30: 07-Ghost (SoA 2017)

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(Recommended by 100PostsPerDay, completing the recommendation trifecta.)

Instead of ending the Summer on a long, explosive note, I’ll end it the way I feel it deserves to end: lazily, mirroring my own drive at its last junction. Unfortunately, my motivation to stick with the self-imposed rule system of this year’s festivities left me in a weakened state of misery by the end. It felt like a job—this really shouldn’t feel like a job.

With all due respect to Karandi, who may have recommended this to me with the utmost earnest, my hands are too drained to give this series, which ended up being another dull drag, a proper analysis. Instead, the next few paragraphs will only linger upon what the series has left me to ponder upon.

07-Ghost is a lot like Bungou Stray Dogs. It is also a lot like Pandora Hearts, and a number of other series with the same aura to them. Series that are, at their hearts, very serious pieces that typically revolve around fantasy plots, which occasionally employ over-the-top character quirkiness to combat the ever dark tone and feature a large cast of good-looking male characters—some of which are fairly intimate with one another. Not quite bishies, but semi-bishies—male characters with bishie-like qualities. All the aforementioned titles flirt with these characteristics, creating a vibe that feels somewhat foreign to me. It goes without saying, but these titles simply don’t interest me. That much should be obvious with my overall disinterest with both Bungou Stray Dogs and Pandora Hearts.

What isn’t necessarily set is the type of impact these series can have, as while Stray Dogs has a generally negative view in my mind, Pandora Hearts has a more positive image. 07-Ghost is of a similar vein to the latter, though admittedly in a more dull sense. Things that occur, characters that receive screentime, events that occur… all ring very familiar to others of its kind. Not to say these aren’t good on their own, it simply ends up being a little worn by this point. My interest varied between gradual interest and minimal boredom. It at least held my attention.

As such, I’m going with a safe rating. Its quality is understandable for those who wish to follow through, it’s just nothing extraordinary. Nothing I would willingly recommend, but can see why others would. If there was any true enjoyment I received from watching, it was a single scene that reminded me of a skit from The Whitest Kids U’ Know. Absolutely unintentional on their part, but it gave me a hearty laugh. That doesn’t technically count as “an anime making me laugh.”

Personal Score: C-

Critical Score: C

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Top 10 Most Impactful Games of My Childhood [REDUX]

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A little over three years ago, I made a list of the top ten most impactful games of my childhood. Looking back on it now, some of the game I originally chose are outdated, and upon further consideration aren’t as impactful to me as some others. This re-proposal aims to more accurately cement the games that made my childhood amazing, with an updated touch (because let’s face it, the old list looks bland). To save some time (and avoid reaffirming what’s already been established by the old list), a lot of recurring games will have the same notes attached as before, aside from perhaps some minor edits. That being said, I shall begin with the opening to the first list:

When I came out of my mother’s womb, it wasn’t exactly a clear cut choice for what I would do for the first thirteen years of my life. Growing up in a small trailer for the first five years, and then moving to my current location, I had a whole lot of options. I could have played sports. I could have been an artist. I loved to draw and my imagination served me well all throughout my childhood. I could have wasted my entire life away playing with action figures and toy cars. Despite all of these alternative possibilities, the one thing I did ever since my childhood, all the way up into my life as of now, was play video games.

I started young; very young. At one point, I was told that I picked up my first controller at the age of three. Of course, my mind isn’t strong enough to remember the exact age of my first time playing the Super Nintendo, but old video tapes show evidence that it was before the age of five. Thinking back to it, I remember always watching my father play games such as Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and Megaman 7; waiting until I got the chance to take on the classics for myself. I recall Donkey Kong Country 3 being the first game I ever played (though my father claims it was the first). I also recall defeating Bowser in Super Mario World, a shining moment from my childhood. All of these memories, all of these games, everything played a part in what made my childhood so enamoring. With that said, I would like to share my memories with the public, with my own personal list of games that made my childhood full of wonder.

A quick disclaimer beforehand, this list is not exactly a display of the greatest games of all-time. Keep in mind that I did not play every video game ever. There are a lot of games that you would expect to be on this list, but aren’t, simply because I either didn’t find them very influential or I just never played them as a child. Here’s a quick run-down of such games:

All Legend of Zelda titles, Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Banjo & Kazooie, Resident Evil 4, Super Metroid, F-Zero, etc.

I would also like to clarify a couple of requirements each game had to meet in order to make the list.

  • I had to have played the game before August 20th, 2006 (My 13th birthday).
  • The game had to have had an impact on me as a child, and continues to have an impact on me as an adult.
  • I have to remember playing the game, even though this may directly tie into the second requirement.

#10: Mega Man X: Command Mission

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Mega Man X: Command Mission is one of those spin-off games that seemed to have more impact on me as a child than the original series did. I’m not sure if this is sad and wasted effort or just sad. Regardless, I can’t rewrite my past. I first got my hands on Command Mission around the time it was released at the end of 2004. I got it from Best Buy as somewhat of an impulse buy. Did I regret it? Not a single bit. I loved the RPG style the game presented and it made me consider the possibilities of more RPG-styled Mega Man X games in the future. Did I ever get it? No. Despite the generally low critic consensus of the game (~68% on GameRankings and Metacritic), I thought the game was an absolute goldmine of possibilities. The attack system, the upgrades, the transformations, the character designs; it was a spectacular game for those willing to immerse themselves within it. The only major complaint I have with the game is the voice acting. Good gracious, the voice acting (in English) is absolutely atrocious. Even as a stupid kid, I made fun of their tired voices. But even that made it more memorable for me.

Playing the game again within the last year, the game definitely hasn’t aged all that well. While the gameplay mechanics work and the exploration is a little more than basic, characters and level design are little more than archetypal. Not to mention, chapters, outside of a few cutscenes and surprise attacks, are amusingly short, and vary in overall creativity. The lackluster critic scores are a lot more understandable upon a clear playthrough, though I feel the game has more worth than others rated higher. I’m likely biased.

I never beat this game as a child, only getting to chapter six of ten. Playing this as an adult, I flew through it like butter. Perhaps I didn’t really understand what I was doing as a child, because this game is fairly simple. Why am I bringing this up? Another aspect of the game that I remember: the hiatus. While this has nothing to do with the game within the disc, it involves the existence of the game itself. After failing to get past the sixth chapter, I went on to not play the game… for a long time. When I finally got around to wanting to play it again, after so many months, it was gone. I had suddenly lost it. I wouldn’t find the game again until I was far past the age of thirteen. That’s part of the impact this game had on me as a child: the mystery of not knowing what comes next. I never looked up how to get past any part of the game or what happens after the part I initially stopped at. I never found out what happened… as a child. For a long while, I had to fill in the blanks myself, but I would never really know until years had gone by. As an already great game within my mind, Command Mission also became “the lost game,” if you will. And that was enough to help it make this list.

#9: Star Wars: Episode I Racer

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This game is an interesting choice, since I’m fairly certain that this game is one of the most repetitive games in my collection. Why does this game get so much love? Simple: it was amazingly fun. How fun was it? I preferred to play this game as a child over Starfox 64, Mario Party, Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Stadium, and Lego Racer. That’s quite the line-up. What made it so fun? Now, that question is tricky, because it’s probably full of bias. But this is my own personal list of games that had an impact on me. One thing you must know about me is that I am a gigantic fan of Star Wars. This game came out shortly after Star Wars: Episode I. Guess who had just seen the movie before purchasing the game? So, to put it simply, why did I love this game so much? Because it expanded upon one of my all-time favorite movies as a child (shut up) and my all-time favorite scene from that movie (shut up).

Star Wars Episode I: Racer is a game where you race in machines called pod racers. You can choose from a wide variety of made-up alien races that were made specifically for the game, including Sebulba (most need to be unlocked, however). The game also has a variety of courses to choose from (twenty-eight in all, if I remember correctly) that have a specific character who has an advantage on said course. By winning these courses (or beating the favorite), you unlock a specified amount of money to spend on upgrades to your vehicle and the chance to play as the character whom you had beaten from that course. Simply spending time choosing the right parts to upgrade my vehicles and gazing upon the strange creatures that I could choose from, my childhood mind could hardly contain itself. This game inspired a wide variety of fan-made drawings (that I still never kept) and all sorts of imaginative outside gameplay. Not to mention, anything with the name “Star Wars” pasted on it was sure to get my attention. But in this case, it was both a “Star Wars” game and a genuinely entertaining one at that. A gem of a game with hardly any recognition (except a Player’s Choice sticker).

And much like Mega Man X: Command Mission, this game lost a lot of its luster upon recent playthroughs, as the game is, as mentioned above, fairly repetitive. You race, you win, you upgrade, you repeat. After about three or four hours, the game’s done, and you have nothing left to do.

#8: Donkey Kong Country 3

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Ah, yes. The game that, from my limited memory, introduced me to video games. Thinking back on it, why didn’t this game make the original list? It made the runner-up list, but what kind of drugs was I on to put Starfox 64, a game that I really liked, but was outshined by a number of other games on the same console, make it over the “first”? Regardless, that error has been corrected, as Donkey Kong Country 3 was one of the most magical experiences of my younger life.

This game may have influenced my affinity for cartoon graphics, quite honestly. I remember being (and still am to a degree) amazed by the way the game looks. Its design still looks great today! The technique of converting 3D models into a 2D space worked wonderfully and helped craft the Country series’s distinction from other Nintendo classics. Outside of flashy visuals, the game has a wonderfully spastic atmosphere that accurately presents the weight of each level. Design is on-point, with levels being fun (and somewhat challenging later on) from beginning to end, despite some levels’ degree of one-dimensional gimmicks.

As a child, this game blew my mind. If not for perhaps Super Mario World, I’d probably dub this the greatest game I had ever played by the time I was eight. One question that may come to mind is, “If this game was so astounding to you, why is it not higher on the list?” Back then, I kind of naturally associated every Country game with one another, making them all blend together in a disjointed collection of one giant game. So while the third entry stuck out the most, the memory of the first and second games also filter the impact it had on me. I can’t help but think of every Donkey Kong Country game whenever Donkey Kong Country comes to mind. Except the new ones. Those may as well not exist.

#7: Glover

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“HEP-WEE!”

When you’re published by Hasbro, you’d think you’d get a little more attention. From the company that brought you My Little Pony comes a 1998 one-off game franchise called Glover. Obviously inspired by Super Mario 64, the game is an open world platformer/puzzle hybrid, complete with hub world, distinct areas with stages leading up to a boss encounter, and collectible items scattered throughout. Everything about this game screams “Bargain bin rip-off,” yet somehow it managed to become one of the most quotable and charming games of my life, whether childhood or adulthood.

To some extent, the “bargain bin” moniker is appropriate, as nothing about this game really stands out to make it an amazing experience. At best, the game is passable entertainment with a penchant for shoehorning in one distinct shtick: ball-handling. Within Glover, the goal is to make it from one end of the stage to the other, and you cannot do that without carrying around a shiny ball capable of weak magical abilities. As is appropriate when playing a game whose main character is the (implied) disembodied hand of a wizard, the player’s maneuvers are predicated on the physical capabilities of a hand. You bounce the ball, slap the ball, point at the ball, shoot spells at the ball to change its shape, and jump on the ball. This game is pretty odd.

Its oddity might be what makes the game so memorably impactful. What it lacks in quality controls and graphics it makes up for with silly creativity. Just look at the game itself! You play as a glove carrying a ball around carnivals and flying pirate ships and different planets in pursuit of crystals used to power a wizard’s castle, which have all been turned into bouncy balls that wandered into alternate dimensions. Not to mention, the wizard’s other hand was dropped into a magical concoction and turned it evil, serving as the main antagonist of the game. What the fuck?! This is the kind of thing I miss about the olden days of video games. Things didn’t have to be serious, and the more colorful and bizarre a game was, the more appealing it became to me. Glover is not a game with objectively fantastic hardware or design. It is a game meant to embody the spirit of having fun, something I feel it does better than most. That’s what makes the game so wonderfully memorable to me, both now and when I first played it some seventeen years ago.

#6: Super Mario Sunshine

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Super Mario 64 didn’t make the list. Super Mario World didn’t make the list. Super Mario Bros. 3 didn’t make the list. Super Mario Sunshine makes the list. My opinion must be invalid.

Let me explain, I never played Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Bros. 3. I played Super Mario World as a young boy, and perhaps it should’ve made the list. However, I have more memories of the first world and the final fight with Bowser than anything else, which leaves a big chunk of the game void in my mind. Super Mario Sunshine came at the exact right time, at the time I was nine. A lot of complaints about the game seem to be based on direct comparisons to Super Mario 64, but I don’t think that’s ultimately fair. Sure, with another game in a long line of legendary games, comparisons should be expected, but to compare every aspect of one game to another and base your opinion solely on that seems illogical to me. As a child, I never compared anything. I simply played the game as it was and had no thoughts as to what came before. It was a beautiful time for gaming.

Super Mario Sunshine had one of the most engaging and bizarre plots I had ever seen in a game up to that point. Cleaning up graffiti? Super Mario! It seems more like a plot for a game starring Mr. Clean. Regardless, the game had a certain quality of color and pizzazz that made it work for me. The bonus stages were difficult, but fun. F.L.U.D.D. was one of the most helpful tools in any game ever, and I very much appreciated that it didn’t talk as much as it could have. Despite what is essentially a burden to children everywhere, cleaning up the mess of monstrous goop within the game was one of the most exhilarating times I’ve ever had playing a Mario game, or any game, in my entire lifetime.

#5: Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense

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This is a statement I will defend to the death if I must: Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense is the most underrated game for the Nintendo 64.

What’s Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense? That’s a question I hear all the time whenever I discuss the game with fellow gamers. And why would they have heard of it? They were too busy playing Twisted Metal. However, I, as a good ol’ christian boy, played the much more appropriate Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense. This game is still regarded as one of my all-time favorite games and is a regular play. While the game certainly has its flaws (sound effects, realistic motion control), the effort and care put into the game has been apparent to me ever since I was a child. The plot is interesting, the characters are creative to the point of parody, and their vehicles are reminiscent of decades past. The features included in this game are enough to make people want to play this game forever, and the fun only quadruples with the multiplayer mode.

The Quest Mode paints a picture for what the series is all about. Each character has their own individual style of play that ties into the giant story of Vigilante 8. They have their own motives and their own travels, depending on their alignment in the game. In each stage, there are little side quests that one must do in order to fully complete the quest at hand, which includes unlocking new characters. The amount of weapons and abilities and characters and vehicles and features and stages and plot twists prevalent within this game are simply perfect, if not minimalistic. Could there be more characters? More vehicles? More side quests? Absolutely. But it still makes itself a very solid game with a lot to offer, despite what little it has. Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense isn’t just the fifth most impactful game of my childhood, it’s one of my all-time favorite games on the Nintendo 64, and a top ten favorite game of all-time.

#4: Metroid Prime

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Fun fact: Once upon a time, I witnessed a game being played in front of me called Super Smash Bros. It was at my cousin’s house. While playing that game, I would always be one character, who would continue to be my all-time favorite video game character up until Metroid: Other M (but that game never happened). Her name was Samus Aran. So, what do you think my mindset was like when I came over to my cousin’s house one day only to find that Samus Aran had a new independent game called Metroid Prime? If your answer consisted of anything similar to “orgasmic,” you would be correct. Another fun fact: I initially was hesitant to play the game after witnessing my cousin die multiple times during the game. Why? I was scared of death at one point. I would never want to play a game that involved the main character dying in first person, as it would give me the impression that I was the one who would face their ultimate demise.

It didn’t stop there, however, as even when I owned the game myself, I was still scared of certain aspects of the game. Two prime (heh) examples: the Armored Beetle and Chozo Ghosts. I don’t know what is was with Armored Beetles, but it was one of the things that killed my cousin in battle. I guess that had affected my sub-conscious. But Chozo Ghosts? Those are genuinely frightening. You can’t see them, they can appear wherever they want, they exude these sounds that could very well have originated from a horror flick, and the light in the area dims whenever they appear (I was once afraid of the dark). Those things were nightmare fuel for me as a child. While not as traumatizing to me as a child, the Metroid Research Center in Phendrana Drifts has one of the most genuinely creepy atmospheres in all of Nintendo’s classics. It’s one of the best parts of the game.

But all of this, along with a genuinely engaging plot, and gameplay, plays into the impact this game had on me as a child. This game solidified Samus as my all-time favorite video game character and gave me a game to base it off of. This game made me genuinely fear what Nintendo was capable of in storytelling. All of the features present in the game, all of the creatures, and the fact that you can scan and gain information on them is astounding! Your scan visor is one of the most ingenious decisions I’ve ever seen in gaming history. In Metroid Prime, there is no dialogue. None. So what can you make of the story? Based on the events that happen and whatever your scan visor can pick up from ancient relics. This gives the player all the more reason to get immersed into the story of the game, because it’s never explained. They have to put the pieces together themselves. Why is this game so influential to me? Because it improved my subtlety as a creative writer. It taught me that foreshadowing and symbolism is one of the most engaging types of writing in all of storytelling, whether it be in a novel or a video game. Metroid Prime isn’t just a fun game to play, it’s an innovative work of art in storytelling.

#3: Soul Calibur II

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Soul Calibur II is a game that I’ve been playing ever since I first got it. The characters. The story. The Weapon Master mode. Everything about this game is so unbelievably memorable and interesting. This is one of the only games that has influenced me to actually go into the options setting just to see what else I could find. Even the special features are interesting. The artist renditions of these characters are interesting. Everything about this game is so interesting it just makes my head explode just thinking about it! The opening, the music, the characters’ movesets, the characters’ variety of weapons, everything. It’s all interesting, and vastly entertaining.

What made this game better? I had it for the Nintendo Gamecube. So, the guest character with the game is the only guest character from a Soul Calibur series game I’ve ever approved of: Link. I had first encountered this game at Family Video, a hot-spot for video games during my childhood. I saw Link on the cover case and immediately wanted it, so we rented it for a couple days. I fell in love. Link is perfect for this game! The sword and shield, and the already wide variety of items he collects inside each Legend of Zelda game, this was a genius choice. It added a magical Nintendo touch to the game that has lasted up until this point, and probably will forever.

The fighting aspect of the game takes a lot of strategizing and manipulation of the opponent’s mindset to completely master, and each character has their own weaknesses and strengths. All of the vivid little details put into this game make it a creative plethora of ideas and innovation. Even Necrid is a personal favorite of mine, and he doesn’t even make it past this game. The only real issue I have with this game is that once you complete Weapon Master mode, it just becomes like an arcade game, and arcade games are only fun in short, sporadic spans of time. Regardless, this game is a personal favorite and has continued to be a topic of interest whenever the issue of good fighting games arise.

#2: Custom Robo

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Custom Robo is a game that I had initially heard about after playing a demo at Toys ‘R Us. I was so immersed with that demo… it was one of the only times that a demo had such an adverse effect on my desire to purchase a game. The creative designs, the weapons, the colors, the gameplay, it was perfect. It was all perfect to me. My creative juices were flowing like the Nile after playing that game, and I had to have it when it came out a few weeks later. After picking it up from Family Video, I played it for about five straight hours. It was unlike anything I’ve ever played. The characters’ personalities, their designs, their names, the plot, the robos, the area, the map, the humor, Oh! The humor! Everything about this game was wild and colorful and it just fit. If Custom Robo were a puzzle piece, it would fit right into my brain as if it were its home. This game speaks to all of my individual interests as a human being and it only did so much to appease me.

When I finally finished the game, I craved it. I craved more, so much more. It wasn’t enough. I literally got depressed after beating the game and saying goodbye to all of the characters in front of me. I waited, I waited so long for a viable sequel, but I never got one. Custom Robo is the only thing I got in terms of its world, its universe, its characters. Custom Robo has so much potential to be something more, something amazing, something legendary. If only they would give it a second chance. It’s times like these you learn to live again that I want to be a game designer. To be able to gain the rights to work on the games that made my childhood beautiful, that made it worth living. Custom Robo is one of those games that have such an essential place in my heart that no amount of criticism, insults, or debauchery could ever have my view the game any less than wonderfully imperfect. It’s replayability and creativity are some of the strongest I’ve ever experienced playing any game in my entire life. All of this for a game that no one has ever heard of.

Funny how passionate I was for this game three years ago. It’s a decent game, but I more than acknowledge the flaws that this game has. Most of what I’ve said still holds up, though without all the passion I once had in my “youth.” I would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun experience, and hope it can give the same impact it had (and has) on me.

#1: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

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Fun fact: Running around at Family Video as a child, I encountered a lot of games in my life. But I only chose certain games to take home to play. Some lasted a while, some didn’t. Some would last the rest of my life. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was a game that I spent the absolute most time with after renting from Family Video. I rented it for two days. I spent approximately half of that playing the game. Roughly twelve hours a day, from the moment I woke up to the minute I went to bed, with bathroom and food breaks in between. With all of that time poured into the game, I made it to chapter four, where I could not for the life of me figure out how to acquire Doopliss’s name. It was the first time I ever searched “Gamefaqs” in the search bar. It was the first time I ever used outside sources to find out how to advance farther in a game. By the time I had defeated Doopliss and made my way into chapter five, it was time to return the game. I would not play Thousand-Year Door again for years.

Have I ever mentioned that RPG’s are my favorite type of genre in video games? That might be because of Thousand-Year Door. Remember my statement for Mega Man X: Command Mission about it being the “lost game”? It’s the same here, except multiplied by a thousand. I had every chance to play Command Mission after getting stuck on the sixth chapter, I just chose not to do it. After I returned Thousand-Year Door, I didn’t play it again for years. I never owned it, and for some reason, I would never get it for my birthday or Christmas. I had no income to purchase it, and my mother wasn’t exactly one to frantically spend money. I was stuck with what I got during special occasions, and that lasted well into my teenage years. The mystery of what happened after chapter five in Thousand-Year Door haunted me for a long time afterwards. The fact that such a long time had passed since I played the game made me more and more anxious to play the game, and that lasted even after I played the game. That growing anticipation was prevalent up until the point I finally got my hands on it again.

However, what Command Mission didn’t have in replayability and design, Thousand-Year Door made up for tenfold. Not only did I have to bottle my emotions for years waiting to complete the game, it’s also one of the most beautifully presented games I’ve ever played. The types of things that you have to do in order to advance in the game are things I would have never conceived. They really take advantage of Mario’s paper abilities and craft them into the game like a work of art. The graphics are also so simplistic, yet so creatively vivid. It’s one of those “easy on the eyes” games that enhance the quality of artwork through minimalistic designs. It’s truly breath-taking. Every character is likable. Every chapter is brimmed with creativity and interesting plotlines (with the addition of repetitive fetch quests). These chapters range from outstandingly immersive (Chapter 1) to irritatingly memorable (Chapter 2). All emotions are exuded while playing this game. It’s really a complete package. Everything and anything can be achieved while playing this game, it’s all a matter of how you choose to see it. This is truly the epitome of influential games in my opinion, and stands as one of the most memorable games of my childhood, and of all-time.

Honorable Mentions: Pokémon SilverMario Party/Mario Party 4Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2Mega Man 7, Tony Hawk’s UndergroundSuper Mario Bros. Deluxe.

Day Twenty-Four: Hardcore Henry (MotM 2017)

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Seeing the trailer for Hardcore Henry, I scoffed. “The first feature-length film to be exclusively first person,” the ads praised. Such a thing being heralded for that? Way to implicate expectations based on a single gimmick. Does it have a good story? Characters? An eye for detail or something that can grab the viewer without boring them? I gave myself every excuse not to see the film, and when positive reviews piled up, still I ignored them. I had made up my mind and deemed it unworthy of my attention. It had a certain stigma about it that I didn’t care for.

Today, upon the suggestion of my brother, who watched and enjoyed the film, I saw Hardcore Henry. I gave it a shot. It not only floored my expectations but made me appreciate the amount of effort to make the gimmick feel innovative and believable. Indeed, I have completely eaten my words and have jumped onto the Hardcore Henry fan train. Though, it does have some issues.

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This is another one of those “That’s the point!” films, where things are the way they are to better accomplish an intended goal. For this film, it’s the idea of style over substance, through means of making the audience feel as though they’ve plopped right into a late ’90s-early millenium arcade shooter. Time Crisis is among the most famous examples of these, with Hardcore Henry taking everything and more to establish itself as a film that can carry the weight on its lead’s cyborg shoulders. Because of this heavy comparison, the film also embodies the flaws that carry over from video game to cinematic picture.

It is horribly simplistic, and if not for the heavy amount of blood and gore, fairly cheesy. Flashy deaths, flurries of explosions and weaponry and supernatural phenomena. One would assume they were in a modern version of Dynasty Warriors mixed with Mortal Kombat. The amount Henry gets away with can’t be counted on every finger and toe, and that includes erratic behavior and death itself. Enemies are doused like sprinklers in a hurricane. There exists a scene near the end where Henry single-handedly kills roughly fifty cybernetically-enhanced people, all of whom at one point had him surrounded. The chances of his survival at that point is laughable, not to mention against a lead antagonist that can use telekinesis.

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Story, or its iteration of it, isn’t anything truly revolutionary, either. Again, basic good vs. evil with not many twists along the way, save the end. A lot is left unexplained and what is explained leaves much to be desired, though rest assured the film ends somewhat abruptly. Its first half has a long stretch of endless goose chases and fight sequences that are all somewhat disorienting. One has to wait for the meat at the end of the bone, though whether one isn’t already satisfied by the texture of the bone getting there is debatable.

What makes Hardcore Henry so fun to watch is through means of witty writing of character and insanely chaotic action scenes. Hobo with a Shotgun tried to incorporate some of this within itself, however it only used the bare minimum and it ended up being more gory than stylistic. The action sequences in Hardcore Henry are more akin to John Wick, with a lot of scenes revolving around fast, precise weapon fire, should Henry be packing. If not, his abilities give his physical attacks a powerful force. Combined with the first-person view, it all combines to create an image of being within the action, instead of watching it.

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When mentioning characters, there’s really only one character who stands out, which is Jimmy. Jimmy is a scientist responsible for certain things within spoiler territory, and upon first glance seems to be immortal. His random change of character with every passing scene makes for a hilarious mindfuck of absurd proportions, perhaps hinting at the uselessness of NPCs. He manages to go through some development as the film goes on, though minimal, based on his interaction with Henry and the reality of his situation. More than that, however, is the charm of his constant change of attire and personality. It’s really stupid and I love it.

While this is not technically a “good bad movie,” there’s a silliness to Hardcore Henry that transcends itself onto the final product. At one point in the film, I heard the “Wilhelm scream.” That is not a sound effect that should be in a serious film. With all that was stated earlier, one shouldn’t walk in expecting something that will wrap the viewer in dramatic ecstasy. It’s easy to ignore the flaws present when it’s doing everything it can to give you the full cinematic experience. It’s uproariously entertaining, with just enough emphasis on character and plot to let the audience care about the obnoxiously heavy onslaught of metal and fire.

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It’s recommendable based on entertainment value alone, just don’t expect something spectacularly impactful. The shaky camera could cause concern for those who have issue with headaches and such, as certain parts are pretty out of focus. For those who aren’t bothered by it, Hardcore Henry is an exhilarating experience best suited for those who don’t expect the world from it. I may be biased because I really enjoyed arcade games like Time Crisis, but that’s that, and this is this.

Final Score: 7/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

Thoughts on New Game! (Spoilers?)

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It’s easy to get the misconception that New Game! is a mindless, moe-blob of cute girls and their cute character quirks in a setting more associated with the male demographic for the sake of escapism. I certainly thought so, which played a part in my not picking it up when it aired last year. As the dust settled, the overall rating on MyAnimeList gave me a little optimism that the series would be worth my time. Sure enough, New Game! isn’t all that I had assumed it would be by my initial impressions; in fact, it’s a lot more. A lot more good, though not completely escaping the moe atmosphere that made me hesitate watching it in the first place.

Indeed, New Game! is very cutesy at its core. The characters have a lot of embarrassing and/or exaggerated personality traits that are exploited for the sake of appeasing moe enthusiasts. This includes an entirely female cast who are young and attractive, differentiated by their (surprisingly creative) designs and ways of expressing themselves. Unrealistically shy? Check. Unrealistically peppy and spirited? Check. Unrealistically childish with the squeakiest voice in existence? Check my god damn ears. Though not entirely one-dimensional, a lot of the humor and interactions between characters directly involve exploiting one’s single characteristic. Sometimes it can be charming, while other times it feels too intentional to be effective. To its credit, the anime could’ve been far more obvious with its desire to make the cast so enticing to the crowd, but instead it chooses to prioritize one other central theme that makes it more than just slice-of-life fluff: achieving a long-standing goal.

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In this respect, it feels almost like Shirobako. The understanding that a project as large as making a playable game takes time, dedication, and sacrifice is poignant in both titles. And while Shirobako plays with this concept masterfully by showing the characters struggle through all the setbacks, New Game! almost gingerly sets it out on display, then yanks it back when it feels the point has been established. Especially early on, this concept is paced well enough to set a course for some longstanding development for the main character via the first real project of her dream career. Unfortunately, this impression gets lost along the trail of silly situations and glossy animations—though not entirely.

A bait and switch is not on the radar, for those concerned. New Game! will not tempt you with the prospect of a serious tone and throw it aside the moment you get comfortable. It does a decent job of peppering the more dramatic elements throughout, though it still gets noticeably less time than the goofy antics. As it goes on, one might make a game out of what kind of situation could arise with each passing scene. Sometimes it appears comical, others appear substantial, and sometimes, very rarely, there’s a mix of in-between. The silly, occasionally sexy quirks of scenes almost do well to establish characters as people rather than characters. Only thing is, of course, they’re all naked in a tub, so one may not be entirely paying close attention.

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There is a small bit of fan service present in this anime, aside from the obvious “The game industry has plenty of young, super sexy women who love working on and playing games!” mindset. I was disappointed to see how prevalent random shots of girls’ rears and/or chest areas appear without warning. A couple bath scenes, I can tolerate. New Game! has more than a few bath scenes, random angles of sensitive areas, a subtle sexual harasser of a director (also female, so it’s funny instead of creepy), and a character who often sleeps over in the office in her underwear. It’s one of the more “liberating” shows I’ve seen in a while, but nowhere near the extreme of something like High School DxD.

For a slice-of-life show, the artistic direction is incredibly detailed. While this isn’t the typical slice-of-life setting, it still exudes a lot of what makes the genre so persistently popular. Nothing short of “eye candy” can accurately describe the sparkly nature of New Game!. The characters are diversely-coated in different assortments of colors and still manage to look trite to the reality of their setting. The main character has light purple hair and eyes. A lovely balance takes place of both cutesy and realistic integrity behind the choice in design for each character. Not only this, but animation is typically very smooth and expressive. Still, that doesn’t stop the anime from taking shortcuts such as non-moving background characters. In a rare twist, sound also played some part in the quality, as the characters (aside from one) had very enjoyable voices and did an outstanding job of flexing their vocal muscles to acclimate to every situation.

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Are they people or are they characters? This is an integral question concerned with one’s genuine enjoyment of the show. With as serious and non-serious as New Game! can be, the characters have an important job of making the show all the more immersive and endearing. For the most part, I think they do this job well, as while they aren’t entirely developed, they have enough motivation between them to give them some spunk. Clearly some characters are more there for comic reliefs than others, with the ratio between genuine and “genuine” characters being about 50-50. The female lead is probably the most realistic of the bunch, if not for her superior and idol, though this also makes her the least entertaining on her own, as she behaves the most vanilla of all characters. Almost like a male lead. The surrounding cast gets the most points for group work, as the chemistry between characters is probably the most enjoyable part of New Game!. There are one-dimensional characters, and then there are one-dimensional characters who work well with others of a similar role. Slice-of-life’s are famous for this set-up of character interaction, and this anime is little exception. An extravagant mix of kooky and occasionally endearing conversation, the characters develop one another along with themselves as time goes by.

A lot of benefit could’ve been had with a little more focus. While slightly spoiler-ish, I really don’t like that they managed to finish the game by series’ end. It doesn’t help that the beginning of the series had the game about 50% complete already, but while I understand from the perspective of the main character there isn’t much going on outside of her focus, it feels as though the game consists of very few steps, with plenty more thrown under the table for convenience sake. It feels rushed at the least, lazy to the more cynical-minded. One might not appreciate this anime for being as quick-footed as it is with trying to emphasize the power of human emotions influencing one’s work. One could also argue that the anime isn’t all that serious and they’re being too harsh. Whatever the case, New Game! is anything but slow.

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The way I see it, there’s a lot to like here, with a few serious issues that keep it from being timeless. Character interaction and overall charm of the art design and atmosphere make New Game! a very easy show to watch, though not entirely memorable. It lacks that human touch that, despite its best efforts, falls short of the mark compared to other series that do it far better. Even so, slice-of-life enthusiasts will likely gobble up this light attempt at human growth in the form of moe fodder. Even the more jaded viewers may have some fun with this, I’m no exception. It at least attempts to be more than just another face in the crowd, and for that alone, I can respect it. Good job, New Game!.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Impressions of a Thorny Cynic: Tools for Helping Your Blog Blossom

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Before stating anything, this isn’t a be all, end all post of proven, 100% accurate ways to help increase the traffic or “success” of one’s blog, but rather a list of things I’ve seen work firsthand with other bloggers. I’m still a relatively small blogger myself, but my length of experience (over three years) gives some backbone to a few of my suggestions. This also isn’t a proven way to go from one to one-thousand followers in the course of a day. Blogging is normally a very slow, slightly gratuitous process of building up the foundation of what you want to be, not an instant ticket to internet stardom. Like most things, it requires a dedication to your craft and… well, now I’m getting ahead of myself.

In any case, as the days go by and my age grows to increasingly larger numbers, I find myself clamoring to find that comfortable process of growth from my blog that I didn’t care for in my younger days. I didn’t really take this blog seriously until the end of 2015, when I started to post things more than four or five times a month. I added a number of key changes, such as my blog’s current layout, pictures/expressiveness in posts, variety in topics, and I became more active in the community around the mid-way point of 2016 rather than secluding myself to my minuscule corner of the web. Overall, I think it’s worked well for me. What say you?

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With the context nuzzled warmly in place, allow me to strike straight at the point of this post, detailed explanations and all.

Step 1: Content, Content, Content!

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To show any upcoming audience that you’re dedicated to your craft, your library has to be plentiful, if not consistent. It establishes a trust between that follower and your blog that you aren’t going to suddenly take off and leave them without content, the sole reason (if not out of obligation) they decided to hit that “Follow” button. I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself enamored by a person’s post, only to find out it’s one of the only things they’ve done in the past couple of months. Inactivity is a killer for those trying to stick out from the shrouded woods of blogging.

Another important upside to writing a lot of content is that it greatly improves the chances of someone finding your blog via search sites and/or WordPress recommendations. Say you write a post about a topic that’s only slightly well-known, something that hasn’t been touched by most major news sites of that genre. Chances are, those search sites are going to list your post among the top results. Multiply this by a hundred and you have yourself dead-center for additional traffic. Write as much as you possibly can about as many things as you can, whether within a single spectrum or multiple ones. Snazzy titles help, too.

I’ve started a trend of writing at least one post every two days, and ever since I started writing more regularly (two to three posts per week), traffic has skyrocketed compared to my olden days of “post every whenever I feel like it.” Hopefully for those just starting out their dedication to write doesn’t dissolve within the first month or two, as a good start is critical when it comes to growing as a presence. It took me years to establish myself; don’t let it wait. Post now, post often.

Step #2: Write Quality Content

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I’ll admit, there is some risk in the wording of this step. Notice the italicization on “Quality,” something that can be highly subjective to any individual person. What one considers a garbage post others will consider great. There’s a lot of variables to what makes a post evoke true quality, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll go with a safe interpretation.

Quality posts are:

  • Well-written.
  • Establishing some sort of point.
  • Free from multiple grammar errors.
  • Able to maintain a reader’s attention through a “hook” or organized structure.
  • Expressive (to a degree).
  • Providing room for reader feedback and/or interpretation.

I’ll also admit that this step is probably the least important (as backwards as that seems) of the steps I’ll provide. Some can get away from having content below the standards of an average person by compensating with, say, a likable personality or enticing lures found in their posts. Again, quality is in the eye of the beholder, but for my own tastes, I enjoy articles that are detailed, provide examples to back up their words, and have a balance between professional and personal wording. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but I feel people are looking for a place they can trust or feel comfortable with following. Try to take your blogging seriously, unless you run a parody account in which case be as contrarian and whimsical as you possibly can.

Step #3: Don’t Be a Giant Asshole

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There’s a little more to this than what’s bluntly obvious. Of course, most people are going to be turned off by a ranting, ego-maniacal bigot who sees their opinion as absolute fact. What’s more to this, however, is the manner in which people write their posts. Over the years, I’ve found an interesting correlation between people with many followers and people trying to reach their level: those in the former are a lot more positive with their content.

As an aspiring critic (and a cynical one at that), this finding is a tad unnerving. The job of a critic is to inform the masses whether or not a particular thing is good or bad, with a lot more emphasis on good than bad, if history is any indication. Scores for video games are typically overinflated past the typical critic’s rating system for, say, movies. What’s a 5 for a movie is likely a 7 for a video game. But why is that? Some might argue because it’s safe, because it’s less controversial. The tired internet saying goes: “Anything below an 8 is bad.” This goes for more than those already within the business, but those trying to get into it, too. From what I can tell, those who are more inclined to praise everything is more beloved than those who are more inclined to bash everything. Positivity wins in the end.

My advice in this case would be to balance your content to include both positive and negative material, but if we’re being realistic, positivity is more likely to garner attention than “Eh. It was okay,” or “It sucked.” Always like everything. Never include something that may offend others. Be as vanilla as possible. While also standing out. Wait, wh—

Step #4: Interact with the Blogging Community!

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This is probably the most important step, as being a gloomy gump in the corner of a party is not going to get you many friends. What better way to get people to discover your blog than to extend your hand and provide them the same kindness you’d like from them? Leave them a like. Give ’em a comment. Perhaps even follow them. They’ll most likely be nice enough to give your content a look-see.

Don’t know how to start? Rudimentary, my dear Watson! WordPress has a handy tool that searches for recommendations based on what you’ve liked in the past, who your follows follow, and what your follows have liked in the past. If not that, there are some dedicated bloggers out there dedicated to taking it a step further and inviting people to join in on fun little meet-and-greets to give others more publicity. From an aniblogger standpoint, Arria Cross has a monthly Blog Carnival she hosts to bring the aniblogging community together. It was through here that I was able to meet and become involved with a large number of people’s blogs, and I greatly appreciate her emphasis on camaraderie.

Being involved with others has always been an integral process in growing as a blog (and maybe as a person). With more people to view your posts, the more they can share it, so that the shared ones can share it, too. Whether by like, comment, follow, or otherwise, being a part of a community can bring a vast treasure trove of opportunities. Perhaps more than that is the feeling of belonging and togetherness that a community can provide as well. Reclusive as I am, I’m glad I can say that I went out there and talked to people, and continue to do so on a daily basis. Both for me, for them, and for my blog.

Step #5: Write About Trending Topics

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This is both an opportune and risky measure, as while you may get noticed due to the trending of the topic, many other more established sources will likely take priority in search engines or otherwise. Still, better to take the risk of garnering some more views with the only downside being attracting crickets.

I’ve managed to find magic in a bottle on a few occasions, but very sporadically. My posts on AM2R and Pokémon Uranium boosted the average views/visitors on my blog to nearly triple what they were before posting them. Good timing and little exposure, I suppose. They still get a few views every couple days or so, but they’re far past what drive the view count on my blog now. It’s still nice to know that searching “AM2R review” in Google will bring up my post on the first page (at least it does for my browser).

It doesn’t happen often, but getting a jump on what’s new, trending, and garnering views is a good way to create clickbait to take advantage of the opportunity to put yourself out there. Fun fact: back when Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem kneeling was still incredibly prevalent in the media, I considered writing a post about it. Lack of motivation and other priorities prevented me from doing so, but I always wonder what would have come from putting my voice out there when the issue was at its peak. It may have resulted in nothing. It may have resulted in something. There’s no way to know now, but I somewhat regret not taking the gamble. It’s okay to take risks sometimes, and reaching for the stars can yield results at the most unexpected of times.

Step #6: Expand Your Platform

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WordPress is great. I think everyone can agree to that. Sucking up is also pretty great. Rambling aside, much like the effort of putting yourself out there in the blogging community, it’s also important to expand your reach to other more prevalent social media sites. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Tumblr, Deviantart; anywhere you can possibly develop your reputation within the field that you want to pursue would be great. Of course, sites like Deviantart and Tumblr would be more focused on artistic pursuits, while Twitter and Facebook provide a place to advertise and interact with possible readers. Make yourself presentable, approachable, and confident.

I use Twitter a lot to organize my thoughts and link my posts whenever possible. While they don’t always make much of a difference, with time and energy, it may pay off for me, and it could for you. Any kind of different passages to your blog should be opened. And if people call you a sell-out for it, well, they probably don’t have the same enthusiasm for growth. It’s just the way things are done to gain attention. There’s nothing wrong with that.

With more places where your voice can be heard, the likelier it is that you’ll gain from it. When you have multiple flags placed in multiple places, people will begin to familiarize themselves with your presence, such as “The guy who comments on anime Youtubers a lot” or “That girl who posts critiques on Pokémon art on Deviantart.” Anything that can give an impression can help, no matter how trivial it may seem. It’s more important to leave your mark than to never leave a trace. Being a ninja will not help with your blog.

Step #7: Be Yourself!

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Nobody likes fake people. Well, except maybe other fake people. This step is rather self-explanatory, but don’t let the responsibilities and nuances of blogging turn you into a thoughtless machine of advertising and numbers. Express yourself in the way that you’d like to; add a flair of personality to your voice that’s your own. Or copy someone else’s and improve upon it. That sounds kinda mean, but it happens normally.

With that, this concludes my observations on how a blogger can properly groom their blog for the future and beyond. Again, this isn’t 100% fool-proof, but rather some things I’ve seen correlated over the years with myself and others. If you read this in its entirety, try it, and fail, don’t blame me for not warning you. Just know that I did everything I could to help you out. No, no; you don’t have to thank me. It’s a thankless job. I have my own pride as an opinionated young adult and I don’t need the extra boost to my already massive ego. Knowing that I was able to inspire is all I need to remind myself that I’m the best.

Thank you for reading. Have a nice day. Happy blogging.

The BFG Review

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Disney is a company responsible for bringing an emphasis of magic and wonderment to a gargantuan number of people since their inception. Their movies have a tendency to charm moviegoers of all ages with their signature brand of high-quality animation and innocent whimsy. If there’s one thing Disney movies always had going for them, it’s the spirit of the journey, the adventure into the unknown, which would inevitably change the characters within. As years have gone by, they’ve stuck with this structure through thick and thin—though mostly thin, as their films are still regarded as high quality in most facets. However, time is a heavy judgment, and while this emphasis of wonderment is fine on its own, some would come to expect time to encourage Disney to evolve this concept in more unique ways. With a director such as Steven Spielberg, there was encouragement that The BFG would be little more than “standard” Disney fluff. Of course, one can’t expect the director to change the course of where the movie wishes to travel.

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s book of the same name (sans the acronym), The BFG begins with a little girl in an orphanage, dilly-dallying in the dead of night. She gets the sudden urge to do exactly what she’s told not to do (Kids, am I right?) and looks out the window of her bedroom, only to come across a giant, looming shadow in the distance. In a flash, the figure swoops in and takes the girl from her “home” and travels far into the distance, an environment unknown to most humankind. With hardly a thought to be had, she’s taken into the giant’s lair, danger staring her down with its ugly mug. However, this giant seems to have no interest in eating her, and even goes as far as preventing her from facing further danger. Who exactly is this, ahem, big, friendly giant?

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As for my own experience, I have never read the original novel, and have very vague memories of the animated 1989 film. Going into this film was technically nostalgic, as a few particular scenes from the ’89 film rung familiar while watching this version. I wonder how much of this was really written by Roald Dahl, and how much was decided to be cut. There were some rumblings from critics about making the story not as dark, which only saddens me, as the film could’ve used some more grim situations. Even so, the film has some indication of rehashes and shortcuts, leaving a lot to be desired with trying to fill in each and every hole that’s been left behind.

The BFG is among the more nonsensical plots of Disney’s line-up. Not for the inclusion of giants and tangible dreams, but in the sense that the movie plays by its own rules and expect the viewer to mindlessly go with it. This is emphasized by the number of gobbledygook present within the giant’s speech and the charm of the unknown world, but there’s a lot of things that are supposedly very important that are immensely far-fetched. Critical plot points and resolutions happen by some kooky circumstance and don’t have that impact that one would expect with a decent sense of immersion. Some of this is from a lack of said realism, while also due to another major flaw within The BFG.

Films are typically forgiven for their lack of responsibility as a story so long as they give the viewer a definitive aura of entertainment. The BFG is a long, steady line from beginning to end. Never shifting, never moving. Not a single turn, obstruction, bump. Everything feels so by-the-numbers that it may as well be a different movie with a different skin. Things happen without any cause, and it affects the focus of the viewer. Or perhaps more accurately, the critical viewer. I don’t doubt that an average viewer would immediately eat this film up, seeing as it has every sprinkle of Disney’s fairy dust littered over every crack, but the cracks are large and foreboding to those not willing to ignore them. The film is, with all due respect, boring. It can’t seem to find any sort of hold within its core to really grasp the viewer’s attention other than the tired “Imaginary world for the ordinary hero” trope. There is no splendor—hardly any imagination to go along with it.

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What is does have in its favor (debatably the only thing) is Disney studios’ signature animation, which is nearly flawless. The hollow feeling is at least glossy and complexly stylized. The giant, along with all the other giants, are amazingly realistic, as if they aren’t CGI whatsoever. Their land, while fairly barren, has a nice feeling of a grassy plainlands. The garbage and familiar items discarded within is a nice touch, implying that humankind was present to some extent over the last few millennia. The darkness and eerie scenes don’t leave much of an impression, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Even the fart jokes look impressive (Though they really, really shouldn’t be here). Unfortunately, the overall animation doesn’t do much for the quality of the film aside from its own establishment. I suppose this is a good film for aesthetics.

One of the integral elements of the original story was the friendship between the little girl, Sophie, and the BFG. This film has some elements of this attached to it, however there is some cause for concern. Sophie is a child, so her instincts are arguably ill-fitted to the situation, as is evidenced by her tendency to bicker with drunken men in the streets and moving around in dangerous situations when she should probably just sit still. She has an astute spirit that is suited for the frail and timid BFG, who is the subject of bullying by the other giants. However, a lot of their development as friends happens by circumstance rather than intentionally. One could argue that the time spent together is enough to warrant some trust in one another, though I wonder whether or not this is due to the “F” in BFG and the age of the little girl. Whether or not this all really matters is debatable. I don’t believe chemistry between these two characters is present within The BFG. If anything, they’re together for the sake of being together.

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One other thing that is worth noting is the missed opportunities that take place within the runtime. Sophie lives in an orphanage, she has no parents, and complains that the caretakers are too strict. She even asks if the BFG had any parents (to which he replies, “No,” which makes zero sense). Why is the subject of a family and a place of belonging never brought up? These two examples are shadows of what could’ve been another point to drive the development of these two together. To characterize their relationship as a father and daughter figure, rather than just friends. I expected this to become important at some time, only to view the end credits without it ever being mentioned again. Why not give it a shot? It would do something for this lax attempt at bonding.

Disney is still at the top of their game for what seems like three-hundred years. Even if I disagree, critics seem to embellish the company with heaps of praise for whatever they seem to put out. Not only that, but they’re typically good moneymakers as well. Unfortunately for The BFG, it was one of Disney’s rare flops at the box office, making a putrid (by Disney standards) 18.7 million dollars in its first weekend. Perhaps its a sign that not everything Disney touches is a moving masterpiece, and after seeing it myself, I almost don’t blame people for not going to see it, unaware as they were. It leaves a lot to be questioned about what Disney expects from its movie-making. A classic case of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Whether or not this has any effect on people’s expectations would result in a BFA: a big, friendly argument.

Final Score: 3.5/10

I’ve Been Nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award

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Thank you to Yurichan for nominating me for this award. If you’re ever in the mood for some anime/manga-themed artwork, her blog is chock-full of them, and has quite the talent for it, too. I likely would’ve put up this post earlier today, but by the time she nominated me, I was working on something and was super tired while doing it. A man’s got to know his limitations.

Rules:
– Display Award
– Thank the person who gave you this award (and include a link to her/his blog).
– Share 7 things about yourself
– Nominate 10 bloggers

I’ve always wondered, why seven? It seems like an odd number of things to share about yourself. In any case…

  1. I’m in the process of losing weight. I’ve dropped from roughly 245 lbs. to 219 lbs in the last couple of months.
  2. I started this blog out of peer pressure. Not that those who influenced me were begging me to make one, but I felt inclined to start one due to their neat, clean, pretty blog spaces.
  3. My favorite Youtubers span from SomeCallMeJohnny to Vinesauce to Dunkey.
  4. My profile icon, the thick-framed glasses-wearing bunny with a bushy beard, is not that far off from my actual appearance. Except maybe the hat.
  5. My favorite colors are red and black. I’m neither an anarchist or OC.
  6. I don’t usually plan my blog posts beforehand. Usually I default to anime/manga or video games I finish playing, but if I’m not close to finishing anything by the time about two days have passed, I usually think up something random to write about.
  7. I am one of five children, the oldest at twenty-three.

Now comes the time to nominate ten bloggers. But instead of nominating ten bloggers, I’m only going to nominate three, as I don’t think I even follow ten bloggers and I only feel like nominating these three for now.

  1. Karandi – I really can’t fathom how she does, but Karandi writes up to three blog posts about anime a day. It’s uncomfortable for me just writing once every day. It’s apparent the care she puts into her posts and the enthusiasm she exudes when she’s being serious. I applaud her just for writing so much in general, but she’s a decent critic and worth checking out for anyone interested in anime.
  2. Krystallina – I became a fan of Krystal’s writing during Arria Cross’s first Blog Carnival back some months ago when I read her entry for it. It’s rare when I come across a blog that after one post, I become curious to know more about their opinion and explore the blog further. Her main focus is manga, but she will also review the occasional video game/anime. As of now, she’s running through One Piece both in anime and manga form, so if you’re into that, give her a look. Even if you’re not and want some info on (typically Shoujo) manga, her blog is a gem.
  3. Cauthan – I’ll be honest, when I discovered this guy’s blog, it was like looking into the reflection of a calm and clear pool. The way he writes, the uniformity with his posts, his no-nonsense titles—almost like he was my disciple in aniblogging, or vice-versa. He’s also, dare I say, frank with his ratings. He’s not the bubblegum candy queen throwing out 9’s and 10’s to everything he sees. His standards are of an unquestionably fair level, and the effort he puts into making his opinion as clear as possible is one to be admired. Just look at some of our conversations on his Recommendations Lists. How can you not love him for that? He reviews primarily anime, so his blog is one to go to with a critic’s mindset. It’s a very easy recommendation for me to make.

Again, thank you to Yurichan for the nomination and I hope I managed to make this post clean enough to be readable. Have a good day, everyone!