Month: January 2021

Gremlin’s Gonna Grem – Shadow in the Cloud – Humble Opinions

In 1963, Rod Serling introduced us to an episode of the Twilight Zone that would become rather ubiquitous to the pop culture zeitgeist. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet has been parodied, retold, and reimagined so much so that the very concept of a gremlin on the wing of a plane feels like an idea that has always existed and permeated pop culture. The New Zealand flick Shadow in the Cloud has taken a while to get off the ground for a number of reasons; but, after at long last taking flight into cinemas, does the latest spin on the Twilight Zone classic soar to heights its predecessors couldn’t or does it crash and burn? I want to start by saying that Shadow in the Cloud was a rather enjoyable film overall. After the 2017 sexual assault allegations were made against screenwriter Max Landis, the film had to undergo several rewrites—which becomes very evident as the film rolls on. There are a lot of ideas and different concepts at play here in Shadow in the Cloud, which …

Asking for a Friend – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Fifteen) – Season’s Writings

You know, I have to wonder how much of this interaction was planned. Was Itadori’s entrance exam revelation about his fondness for Jennifer Lawrence the origin, or was Toudou created as an afterthought to bring that statement home? Either way, it’s pretty funny. The fact that Toudou immediately forges a deep (and fictional) bond with anyone who shares his taste in women completely derails the entire “kill Itadori” subplot and sends us…somewhere. Is it strange? Yes. But it is an unexpected payoff to a seemingly random character trait—that being Toudou’s need to ask men what their type is—that actually matters. I’d say it could be seen as a weakness of Toudou’s, shifting his allegiance at the drop of a hat, but something tells me he can sense if his opponent truly means what he says…somehow. Regardless, Itadori passed Toudou’s test and is seemingly set to receive some manner of training from his new best friend. I’m also curious to see said training, by the way, since Toudou’s declaration that Divergent Fist is a “wrong” technique …

Skating for Fun – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Three) – Season’s Writings

Skating should be fun. That is the message that is drilled home by the latest episode of SK8 the Infinity and, as a skater myself, there is no greater truth than that. Picking up where we left off last week, Langa has accepted the challenge of Chinen, the National Championship hopeful. Chinen is immediately presented as on another level, as he easily out skates Reki and Langa in a freestyle skating session. Chinen tells Langa to get his board sorted because he doesn’t want any excuses when he defeats him in the S race. After some training at a local parking garage—which I can attest is just a great spot to skate in general—Langa and Reki are chased away by local security before Reki trips over some garbage, which included a broken piece of an office chair, and he is struck with some inspiration. Reki decides to redesign the trucks on Langa’s board to have full rotational spin like the office chair wheels do. We see that Chinen is a bit stuck up and considers …

Double Trouble – WandaVision (Episode Three) – Season’s Writings

After the world of WandaVision entered into the age of colour television at the end of last weeks episode, we join Wanda and Vision in a Brady Bunch–style sitcom setting as they come to grips with the reality that Wanda is now pregnant—and it is progressing remarkably fast. The episode continues the general plot of Wanda and Vision trying to keep their super abilities a secret from the other inhabitants of Westview, but the reality in which they live has well and truly begun to crumble. The surprise being that Wanda is seemingly aware of the false reality she is living in and able to manipulate it, should it venture too far from her ideal fantasy life. There is a crucial moment midway through the episode where Vision appears to begin questioning things, telling Wanda that “Something isn’t quite right here.” With a brief look of sadness on Wanda’s face, the episode suddenly appears to glitch or skip back a few moments and Vision no longer seems to be questioning the insanity around him and …

It’s Outer This World! – The Outer Worlds – Humble Opinions

After recently finishing Cyberpunk, the game left me craving more story-heavy games. Cyberpunk, although having many faults, did keep me entertained when it came to world-building, story, and its characters. I decided to do some research and, after looking in my backlog, I came across The Outer Worlds. An interesting proposition: I do love the Fallout series, and this looks quite similar. The Outer Worlds was developed by Obsidian, the makers of Fallout: New Vegas; you’ll discover just how much of a spiritual successor of the Fallout series this game is, as it plays very much the same. Upon starting the catalogue of quests available, it was quickly apparent that there was a clear emphasis on “you need to make a decision, and therefore this will affect which faction will hate you and which will tolerate you”. There is very much a cause and effect to your actions, which can take you down some alternative paths to achieve a different ending. You’ll choose whether to help each faction or go against them, and, in the …

Alive and, Well… – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Fourteen) – Season’s Writings

And so, just like that, Jujutsu Kaisen turns what would normally be an emotional, heartfelt reunion into a cavalcade of jokes…and I dig it. Poor Itadori wanted his friends to cry tears of happiness when he revealed that he was, in fact, not dead (you know, from when Sukuna ripped his/Itadori’s heart out?). Unfortunately, Gojo’s attempt at ramping up the surprise to a capital “s” turns Itadori’s return into…an embarrassment. Itadori was embarrassed. His friends were embarrassed. Everyone was embarrassed. It was right embarrassing. Still, Kugisaki did well up slightly; so, they do actually care that he’s not dead. Which is nice. Playing of this reunion as a joke also allowed the series to kick right into it’s next arc with minimal delay—minus the obligatory introduction of new characters. Even that flies by pretty fast, with some simple sentences and splash screens giving us the rundown of the students from Kyoto—one of whom is a robot. I don’t know what impact that has on the lore of the series, but one of them is some sort …

Ollie Revolution – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Two) – Season’s Writings

Word travels fast in the skateboarding scene, and after the complete unknown rookie Langa defeated the champion Shadow, social media has been set abuzz about the mysterious, blue-haired skater who conquered the downhill jam of the S race. All of the skaters across Okinawa now know about Langa and, as we come to find out, that has now put a target of sorts on his back in the skateboarding world. This weeks episode focused primarily on the growing friendship between Reki and Langa, as Reki aims to teach him how to properly ride a skateboard—without having to tape his feet to the deck like he did during the S race. Langa struggles due to a number of reasons: for one, he rides goofy style, and he is mentally still set in his ways with his snowboarding background. As the episode progresses, though, we see Langa improve slowly but surely—after suffering more than his fair share of bumps and bruises. When he finally hits an ollie near the end of the episode, it was a truly …

Oh So Bewitching! – WandaVision (Episodes One and Two) – Season’s Writings

After an eighteen-month-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic—which felt like an infinity, to be sure—the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back with the Disney+ series WandaVision. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was definitely the case when it came to the MCU. I watched the debut of WandaVision with the biggest, goofiest of smiles etched across my face. It was good to be back in the world of Marvel again, although things aren’t quite as they seem in WandaVision. The first episode opens in the style of golden-age sitcoms and television of a bygone era. The entire episode is in black and white, and we are introduced to the familiar faces of Wanda Maximoff and Vision, albeit styled as husband and housewife of the 1950s. It is immediately clear that things are not as they seem, with countless curious moments that highlight the surreal reality that Wanda and Vision now inhabit, but the series does not yet stray too far from it’s sitcom genre framing. Rather brilliantly, the show actually plays …

In Erdrick’s Footsteps – Dragon Quest (Switch) – Humble Opinions

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the original release of Dragon Quest in Japan—on the Famicom. There have been eleven main-series instalments and countless spin-off games released since then. With the entire main-line series (bar the MMO instalment, Dragon Quest X) now having had an official English-language release, I figured it was time I explored some of those older Dragon Quest titles I never had a chance to experience. With the Nintendo Switch remastered releases of the Erdrick Trilogy (Dragon Quest I–III), I figured there was no better place to start than with the game that started it all. So, please join me as I endeavour to take on the quest that is the Erdrick Trilogy. Dragon Quest on the Nintendo Switch is a remastered version of the original 1986 genre-defining classic, ported across from the mobile version and rescaled. The game feels immediately familiar, as a long-time JRPG fan, because this game was the innovator that started it all. Every JRPG that you’ve likely ever played features some element of gameplay that was …

Downhill Jam – SK8 the Infinity (Episode One) – Season’s Writings

As a skateboarder myself, I have been eagerly awaiting the premiere of SK8 the Infinity, a full-fledged skateboarding anime series. Lucky for me, SK8 the Infinity turned out to be every bit as great as I had hoped it would be. The animation, the music, the attention to detail regarding the skateboards themselves, and the way the show captures the feeling of skating so authentically were truly remarkable and noteworthy achievements to me. SK8 the Infinity follows skateboarder Reki, a young lad who works at the local skate shop Dope Sketch. Reki participates often in the local underground skateboarding race known simply and mysteriously as S, which is not unlike the Downhill Jam level in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The champion, Shadow, who looks like a rejected member of KISS, decided to completely and utterly humiliate Reki after defeating him in the S race by burning his skateboard in front of the entire crowd. So yes, Shadow is a bit of a dick. After the failure and loss, Reki comes to meet an exchange student …

Bing Bang Boom – XIII – Humble Opinions

The original XIII released back in 2003 and has gone on to become a cult classic. When it was announced that XIII would be getting a remake for modern audiences, naturally, fans were quite excited to see such a beloved game with a new coat of paint—reborn on current day technology. In a rather strange turn of fate, the original game would see a resurgence in sales upon the release of the remake because, quite frankly, the remake is a mess. So much of a mess that even the developers issued a public apology for the state of the game on release. Now, for the sake of this review, I’m going to try and find the silver lining here with the XIII remake; but, bare well in mind that, they are few and far between. One of the major issues fans of XIII had with the remake was its decision to completely overhaul the game’s iconic cel-shaded art style. Now, while this change in art direction really subtracts a lot of the original games charm, …