Entries From the Dead: Urusei Yatsura (2022)

I’ve seen my fair share of anime series in the last ten years. In fact, it’s been just over ten years since I began to consume anime at a severely unhealthy pace (previously referred to as my “Anime Renaissance”). In that time, all sorts of characters have flashed before my eyes (“flash” being a deliberate term), but one that always stuck out to me by virtue of its absurdity was Lum from Urusei Yatsura, what with her tiger-striped bikini and boots combo, shiny blue-green hair, and horns.

Then, about a year ago, I got wind that Urusei Yatsura would be getting a modern-day anime adaptation, just over thirty years after the original series began airing. “Okay,” I thought to myself. “This would be a good chance to see just what the series is all about with a nicer sheen to its presentation.” Granted, I had some hesitation about a reboot of a cult classic, though with no real affection for the first series, I went into this with basically no expectations. May as well try it out.

I lasted one episode.

Continue reading “Entries From the Dead: Urusei Yatsura (2022)”

Day Twenty-Four: The Amazing Bulk (March of the Movies 2022)

In my quest for films so terribly unprofessional that they come across as hysterical, few have risen quite to the heights produced by The Amazing Bulk. Oh, how wonderful it is to say that this masterpiece is absolutely worth the watch, and I’m overjoyed that it exists.

I knew going in that it would be atrocious. All the reviews paint the film as abominable, and I watched a whole video published by I Hate Everything on it. What I wasn’t sure of was whether it would be dreadfully boring or dreadfully sublime. Finding the answer did not take long.

Continue reading “Day Twenty-Four: The Amazing Bulk (March of the Movies 2022)”

Thoughts on Super Metroid

In case it was not apparent enough by the five Metroid-related posts since April and the multiple statements of Metroid being my favorite game franchise ever, Metroid is my favorite game franchise ever. Despite this, there always remained a sort of lingering absurdity with this claim. Prior to the other night, I had never finished what many consider the series’ magnum opus: Super Metroid.

Note the “finished” wording in the prior sentence. Prior to recently, I had actually attempted to play through the game via emulator with an off-brand SNES controller. The controls were floaty and occasionally unresponsive, and I could never get the hang of the game’s expectations. Such events soiled the initial impressions I got from it—not being able to defeat Phantoon didn’t help matters, either.

Hot off the heels of Dread, my desire to play through not just Super, but pretty much every Metroid title ever (including the pinball game; would not recommend) has skyrocketed to levels unlike anything felt in my adult life. Thus, on a whim, I booted up the subject of today’s post on the Switch Online SNES library and just went to work. It was here I learned that my first go at the fan-proclaimed masterpiece detracted me from something appropriately beloved.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Super Metroid”

Top 10 Games I’m Looking Forward to After E3 2021

I truly missed E3. After being cancelled last year, 2021 returned with all the lovely game announcements and surprise reveals that I once cherished as a gaming connoisseur. While my tastes and standards have shifted since 2019, I still viewed the Wholesome Direct, Xbox/Bethesda Showcase, and Nintendo Direct in full, and otherwise kept a pulse on the E3 “hype train” on social media.

So many games… I can barely keep my head on straight (not that I could before). Now that most of the celebration is done and gone, what’s there to look forward to? What games am I, specifically, foaming at the mouth to get my hands on? These are the ten games that I’m most looking forward to post E3 2021.

Continue reading “Top 10 Games I’m Looking Forward to After E3 2021”

Fire Emblem: Awakening, Pokémon LeafGreen, and the Unfortunate Consequence of Playing Better Games

unfortunate consequences post cover

In major parts of November and December, I played through and thoroughly enjoyed Pokémon Platinum, which was particularly surprising considering I didn’t think I liked the fourth generation of Pokémon. Upon its release roughly seven months ago, Fire Emblem: Three Houses destroyed my social life and ended up being my 2019 GOTY. Both would have a profound impact on my experience playing games from their respective franchises that came before: Fire Emblem: Awakening and Pokémon LeafGreen, both of which I had previously completed and enjoyed. Said impact, unfortunately, did not end up positive. Continue reading “Fire Emblem: Awakening, Pokémon LeafGreen, and the Unfortunate Consequence of Playing Better Games”

Entry #14: Ghost Stories (English Dub) (SoA 2017)

ghost stories

(Recommended, once again, by this cheeky bastard.)

The story is infamous, but I’ll go over it for anyone unaware. In 2005, ADV Films acquired the rights to make an English dub of Ghost Stories, a harmless, episodic anime involving kids encountering ghosts in their daily lives. Instead of taking what was already there and translating it, ADV decided to write a completely different script, only retaining basic storylines and the characters’ names. The end result became something of a tall tale, as nothing has ever been done like it since, despite positive impressions from “fans.” In the end, the Ghost Stories English dub became known for its abrupt vulgarity, offensiveness, and constant references to pop culture. Allow me to share some lines one can expect when diving in:

“Imagine a black guy chasing you!”

“[Talking to a young boy] You shouldn’t be worried about drag queens. Watch out for priests.”

“When a girl bunny and a boy bunny love each other, the boy bunny sticks his penis into the girl bunny’s vagina. Then the girl bunny acts like she owns the penis.”

“[Incoherent screaming]”

Admittedly, Ghost Stories has made me laugh more and harder than any anime I have ever seen. It is precisely because the humor is by no means “anime” that it has managed to do so. That’s actually pretty sad. At the same time, it becomes difficult to really rate this when the original form has been changed so drastically, but still has some semblance of his former self sticking through. On one hand, I could rate this as a comedy, but then what about the anime’s serious attempts at family bonding and the threat of each episode’s ghost(s)? I can’t take that seriously. I could rate it as an episodic series, but the comedy ends up taking out all the context and one can only use established clichés to fill in the void. With my hands tied, I can only go with what I feel is stronger of the two, which is obviously the comedy, while still stringing along what it shows outside of it.

ghost stories 2

As stated above, this is the funniest anime I’ve ever seen. My preference for humor is a controlled chaos/dark hybrid that’s really hard to find, but Ghost Stories does it fairly well. Never was there a dull moment (outside of the serious moments) when each character were allowed lines to vocalize. They also did a phenomenal job of making clever inputs about what was originally shown and how they had to sacrifice the translation for the sake of making sense. Almost as though the English translation really were the true form, but in an amateur-ish style that’s campy fun. Though, when the anime turns to its darker scenes, the comedy runs dry and the audience has no reason to care anymore. Some episodes have less of these scenes than others, with the humor feeling a little repetitive in bits, bringing various episodes down to forgettable parody.

Another great is vocal performance. Indeed, one of the few anime I can praise the voice acting is when the voices are English. Irony is funny. Each of the main characters, and even one-off characters, have a great control of their vocal roles and what they wish to convey within the context of their character’s stereotype. A whiny, high-pitched Jewish stereotype, a calm, soft-spoken Christian stereotype, the rowdy, aloof playboy, and the ordinary tomboy. Oh, and of course, the shrieking terror of the five-year-old crybaby. These voices will forever be embedded into my soul, and not just for what they say, but how they say it.

Everything else is forgettable. And that’s the major issue with the work. The comedy is typically good, if not great, and the vocal performances are just as well. Everything else, however, is mediocre, or not even taken into consideration. Characters are whatever, art is whatever, plot is whatever—lots of whatever. The only thing that sticks is the presentation of comedy. And if one can adore this series simply from that, so be it. For me, I need something a little more, something that’ll tie it all together, so that by the end, I feel as though I worked off some calories rather than held my breath for three hours. A worthwhile experience one, maybe two times around, but nothing more.

Personal Score: B-

Critical Score: C-

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

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Review


The Shantae series is one that has recently gained steam among the gaming community as a quality franchise of spectacular platformers. This was shown by the development of their most recent game, funded almost entirely on Kickstarter, amassing around $750,000. With three years and nearly a million dollars, WayForward was tasked to make a proper sequel to the acclaimed Pirate’s Curse, and for a while, the hype leading up to the game’s release (following a three month delay) seemed to encourage something spectacular in the making. Its release marked a pivotal moment in the franchise’s history, establishing itself as a potential powerhouse with four games—and likely more coming—under its belt. It’s been a long time coming for Shantae, but its late season renaissance is as magical a run as one would expect from a half-genie hero.

Half-Genie Hero does little to deviate from traditional formula within the franchise. Shantae wakes up to encounter an ominous conflict. Risky Boots stirs up trouble and leaves Shantae with the brunt of the blame from the town’s goofy mayor. Adventures ensue with key items to find scattered around the land. It’s a game that reuses and enhances the experiences that made the Shantae franchise what it is and rolls with it. That in mind, it’s simple to its very core, whether in regards to story, characters, or artwork, as all are fairly straightforward and easy to register. It’s almost disappointing to see so much change with the transition from in-game spritework to fully-blown drawn animations without much regard for any other aspect of the game. Still, one could say that the results are within the level of enjoyability that made the Shantae series as lovable as they are.

Upon loading the game, what becomes immediately apparent is the extravagantly minimalist art design. Gone are the sprites that made the game so deliciously retro. Half-Genie Hero exerts a fashion sense that speaks to modern times with its near chibi-like, colorful cast. Eyes are long and pointed, color is hued to the most vibrant of hues, and every character gets an HD-esque upgrade from previous games. It’s definitely a stark change for veteran players, but newcomers will likely prefer the change and find it hard to go back to the spritework (shame as that may be). Aside from characters, the backgrounds and aesthetic environments are all vastly detailed and well-defined within their settings. Back are the “one-type” levels that have a main theme, whether it be “swamp level” or “spooky level.” There is some variety to them, but not much to really distinguish them outside of a single word. A small nitpick, but some sky environments feel a little too “brushstroked.” Clouds feel like a simple sway and swish from a brush. There’s minimalist, then there’s too minimalist. Despite this, the artwork and design are all splendid and very easy to immerse oneself in. It’s the context of it all that makes it feel a little empty.


It’s a common perception of the most, ahem, “dedicated” critics to identify trends and how they equate to the quality of a specific subject. One trend I’ve found to be quite prevalent (though not necessarily new) is that when something shows to be completely fresh and new in one aspect, the other aspects tend to remain within the realm of their own comfort. This is a nice way of saying that they’re not up to par with the expectations set by the single, extraordinary aspect. With Half-Genie Hero, the art and design of the game takes center stage, awing the crowd with its grandeur. Unfortunately, not everyone is so taken by the outer exteriors and wish for something more ambitious deeply below. Where the art shines and the gleams of radiance bedazzle some, the story, the writing, the level design, the soundtrack, and the character hijinks are all far below the expectations set by Pirate’s Curse.

At first glance, there’s a clear emphasis on making the levels feel more streamline, more left to right (usually) and beginning to end. Almost like games such as Mega Man. While this isn’t necessarily a fault on its own, one might miss the balance of this type of streamline and the exploration of more typical Shantae games from Pirate’s Curse. It makes Half-Genie Hero, in comparison, feel a lot more linear in its progression, something most Metroidvania fans loathe. To re-open this same wound, as past Shantae games allow you to re-explore former areas at your own pace, Half-Genie Hero requires you to go back to previous stages almost immediately after beating the level after it in order to advance the game. Not only is the player pushed back into levels they’ve already played that are still fresh in their mind, but it causes said areas to lose their essence of individuality as they become a dump site for all sorts of things one couldn’t get going through the first time.

The structure of these levels also cause some concern for veteran fans of the series, as there’s almost nothing to them. While the puzzles and the constant use of a number of Shantae’s transformations make the areas easy to maneuver and fun to traverse, there’s so little of it that one could beat it in under ten minutes, should they know what they’re doing. Previous games had overworlds that harbored a theme and played it out to extreme levels, then provided a dungeon that served as the “meat” of the meal. Here, the meat is ripped into tiny pieces and scattered around a single plate. Again, the linearity makes these areas feel too much like levels in a game than environments worth getting immersed in. The constant use of going back to previous levels to grab random items conveniently needed to advance the “plot” is padding at its finest and bumps up the total runtime to twice as much as it probably should. There’s an achievement one can receive on Steam for beating the game within two hours. Two hours.


There’s this odd phenomenon in writing within this game that a lot of (typically random) characters embellish. The short, quick sentences that serve to prolong the point. Something that’s meant to make a character seem paranoid and somewhat crazy? Kind of like this. Y’know? Always mumbling. Never really saying anything. Whatever and such. Yeah. With an occasional character, it’s fine, but there are a good number of characters (including established characters) that have a bit of this added in for whatever reason. The writing seems to have taken a turn for the quick to add in both the wit and parody present in most games while getting to the point (or prolonging it for comedy). Otherwise, dialogue consists of the one-shot personalities of the characters. Sometimes charming, sometimes not. A far cry from what it was in previous installments, but still enough to satisfy most.

While not usually a large factor to my impressions of a game, the soundtrack for Half-Genie Hero is almost as forgettable as Risky’s Revenge‘s. Only a few tracks really stand out to me, while most serve their purpose for the setting of the environment. There’s an impressive amount of variety in music, however, as the levels change rooms, which gives a lot of music to listen to in general. The sound seems to be a sultry mix of a variety of different instruments, combined with electronic doo-dads and just a touch of dubstep (which I don’t personally care for). Classic themes return in the form of remixes, and there are a large number of new tracks (or other remixes I simply can’t recognize) for new players to listen to. Very few really evoke any tension or weight to a particular area, but its upbeat fashion is sure to get some head bobs out of some.

I realize I’ve been comparing this game to Pirate’s Curse quite a bit, as I feel I should be. Pirate’s Curse established a course for the Shantae series that lit the fire in such a tremendously positive burst that I couldn’t help but feel enthusiastic as to how far they’d take it. Everything just felt right; the characters, the depth of the story, the writing, the structure of the world. Half-Genie Hero struggles in a lot of these areas, however there is one thing in particular that I’ve yet to really address: the gameplay.


If not for the art, gameplay would be the biggest benefactor of Half-Genie Hero. Controls are tight and fluidly responsive. Controls are mapped to comfortable, attainable locations and everything worked to impressive degrees. Except for hooks. Hooks are evil. Enemies and battling and platforming are all present in the highest quality, along with a variety of different things to do in-between. The difficulty of puzzle-solving is a tad simple, but a few managed to add some genuine thought to the environment of the level. Along with puzzle-solving, the overall difficulty of the game is, again, a tad simple. Bosses aren’t exactly hard to figure out (some are simply susceptible to hammering the attack button), while the only degree of difficulty one could probably have is solving how to collect all the miscellaneous items. Running through each area has its own challenges, but with how short each area is, one likely won’t have a lot of trouble with it. If nothing else, it’s fun. A kind of fun one could have with a large number of games without that lasting impression that a few special games have, unfortunately.

Everything about this installment feels rushed, rushed in the sense that everything is too straightforward and simplistic. The characters only serve specific purposes and little else, the levels are quick, left to right gauntlet runs, and the story is a typical good vs. evil narrative of world-threatening proportions, on top of a treasure hunt. A review I read while editing this post referred to the title as a “Soft reboot,” which I think fits the style of the game well. Though, I wouldn’t call it a “reboot” as much as I’d call it “soft.” It’s similar to that of The Legend of Zelda’s Skyward Sword, a game whose quality is divided among the fanbase for being “too linear” and “sticking too close to the script.” Half-Genie Hero is similar in that regard, as it takes a lot of what made the previous Shantae games great and blends it into a simple, easy format that everyone can be accustomed to. Not everyone will appreciate it, though.

From an objective angle, there isn’t too much about Half-Genie Hero that hampers its quality to horrid status, something that remains fickle to many critics alike. It is the context that makes the game less than meets the eye, as those who have played previous installments know that the game is capable of so much more. These subjective qualms add up to create an asteroid of complaints that drag the game into the depths of mediocrity. With three years and $750,000, WayForward gave birth to a purring kitten; cute and cuddly, but will never obtain the ferocity paved by Pirate’s Curse‘s lion-esque presence.

Final Score: 5.5/10

The rating for this title and more can (eventually) be found on MyVideoGameList.

Quick Thoughts on Hazuki Kanon wa Amakunai.


After reeling over the fact that Sekitou Elergy will likely never see a finished translation in the future, I beckoned myself to quest for something—anything—of similar value. What does Sekitou Elergy have that sets it apart? Of course! A delinquent girl! With a strangely fierce determination, I scoured MyAnimeList for a manga that featured a delinquent girl and a decent number of chapters. Not overwhelming, mind you, just decent enough to quench my thirst for cuties with a bite. It was here that I found a bit of an odd premise, a premise that would lead me into reading a manga called Hazuki Kanon wa Amakunai.

It features a delinquent girl, odd characters—one in particular that enjoys filming everything, including sleeping delinquent girls—and a high school setting. The manga cover was cute and it was finished with a chapter count near forty. I was set. For the first twenty-something chapters, I was entranced with the delinquent girl and her misadventures with developing her relationship with others. I found the manga cutesy and sweet and entirely enjoyable, only to have the scanlation stop just three chapters before it ended. Time had passed and my mindset had changed by the time I had gotten back to it. As of last night, I finished the manga in a quick spurt before shoving off for my third-shift job. It was then that I realized something:

This manga is kind of bad.

I should probably chalk it up to my insane desire to fill the void that Sekitou Elergy left me upon reaching the end of its scanlation, but Hazuki Kanon is a pretty bland story with semi-likable characters. It takes advantage of every trope that manga enthusiasts look for in their 100% innocent, totally unperturbed rom-com high school fodder. The term “delinquent” has a lot more meaning than having a gruff attitude and skipping classes and “getting into fights (that are never shown).” If anything, Sekitou Elergy is the only manga I’ve ever read to really get a “delinquent girl” right. All others try to angle them to be a misunderstood, justifiably shut-off pity case who just want a friend/romance. Why can’t delinquents just be cranky and violent for the sake of being cranky and violent, with their caring emotions showing from more than a cute boy greeting them? I suppose the idea of having the main characters being as squeaky-clean as possible is too much to overcome.

The manga is mediocre in almost every aspect; art, humor, character development, and especially story. It’s cliché to the accented “e,” and never shows any interest in setting itself apart, except for perhaps the absurdity of the characters. Then again, a lot of characters in comedies are absurd now. It’s a harmless read, which is the biggest compliment I can give it. If not for Sekitou Elergy (which I feel I’ve brought up more than the actual subject of this post), I would have never read Hazuki Kanon. Whether this is a blessing or a lazy excuse to add more to my completed manga list is up in the air.

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

An Ode to “Weird Al” Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic at arrivals for BAD TEACHER Premiere, The Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, NY June 20, 2011. Photo By: Desiree Nava

Have you ever seen the Transformers animated movie back in the ’80s? The one with Saturday morning cartoon-like animation and the occasional swear word? Do you remember the soundtrack to that film? I do. Aside from Stan Bush’s The Touch, the other song that stuck out from the bunch was Weird Al Yankovic’s Dare To Be Stupid. Which, in hindsight, was a really odd choice for an action-oriented robo-series such as Transformers. I watched Transformers when I was about five or six years-old, and that was the first time I had ever heard a song sung by the infamous Weird Al. It wouldn’t be the last.

Over the course of my life, Weird Al’s name would pop up sporadically in random places. My music classes in elementary school featured a few songs of his. MySpace had his song White & Nerdy playing on just about every person’s profile. Random Youtube browsing had me stumble upon a few more of his songs that I had heard in other places. It seems that Weird Al has creeped up on my life enough times for me to be convinced that he’s stalking me, instead of thinking rationally that he’s quite popular and his influence simply spreads due to his talent as a writer and musician. But I wouldn’t think rationally until the beginning of my teenage years.

Listening to Weird Al’s songs, I really enjoy the range he has with his voice. His normal voice sounds very zany and nasally, insinuating the parody that his music intends. But he has a tendency to surprise me with the way his voice reflects perfectly with the tone of the song (which, admittedly, is typically silly). He can scream, he can rap, he can sing in all sorts of tones. Am I the only one who thinks the incorporation of sound effects in his songs are kinda charming?

Many people who are familiar with Weird Al’s music knows that he tries very hard to be funny. His songs are silly (usually kid-friendly), with breaking expectations as his main tool of choice. Who else do you know that will create ten-minute-plus songs about being stuck in Drive-Thrus and a random day in Albuquerque? Gangsta Paradise becomes Amish Paradise, Beat It becomes Eat It, Another One Bites The Dust becomes Another One Rides The Bus. Making songs about trivial things as if they have any importance at all is how Weird Al plays the game. A game he probably cheats at all the time.

From Weird Al’s “Trapped In The Drive-Thru” video.

Some of my favorites among his tracks include Trapped In The Drive-ThruThe Alternative PolkaAlbuquerque, The Night Santa Went CrazyWhite & Nerdy, and The Saga Begins. Not a huge fan of Smells Like Nirvana. Thought he played the joke out too long for that one. And that’s kind of the essence of parody: taking a common complaint, flaw, or cliché from a subject and turning it on its head. Weird Al has a tendency to perform this flawlessly, but not always. His use of parody has a keen sense of humor and flair that makes his songs all the more enjoyable, even if his voice can come across as too stark for some.

I think I can relate to Weird Al to some degree because parody remains one of my favorite genres in, well, anything. Comedy, music, movies, video games; all of these things and more I’ll immediately gravitate to as long as there’s a promise of parody to some degree. Even anime/manga tend to have a soft spot within me so long as they’re silly and making fun of others. Maybe I’m just conceited. Maybe. I’ve always been fond of the ways people can parody various things, and Weird Al has been the standard for parodying songs since the ’80s.

A bit short for a post, but there isn’t much more I could say about a guy’s music aside from speaking of the guy himself. And I don’t know the guy. All I know is that he makes some pretty good music. Some of that is borrowed from other classic titles, but I’m willing to excuse it for the sake of parody (and comedy). Mr. Yankovic is still going at the age of 56, and I, for one, am willing to hear what he has to say until he hangs up the accordion for good. And so should you. He’s pretty good.