Author: Kane Bugeja

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 …

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 …

Evolution and Empathy – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Thirteen) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- The Devil’s Plaything – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Thirteen) As far as body-horror beatdowns go, this is definitely one of them. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just that, after writing that first sentence, I realised that I have not seen enough body-horror beatdowns to codify them. So yeah, Mahito is one messed up curse, and he goes bunches of bananas on our two sorcerers. Dude’s got blade arms, urchin body, eye hands, and even a child form. It’s all pretty disturbing. The continued glee on Mahito’s face is also less-than-pleasing, showing that even in life-or-death situations he has no real concern or compassion for anything but himself: he is, by all accounts, a sociopath. Worse still, he has yet to reach his full potential, as being pushed to the edge by a brilliant onslaught from Itadori and Nanami allowed him to develop and employ Domain Expansion. Creepy hand motif aside, Mahito’s Domain means that his Idle Transfiguration is a guaranteed hit: guy can just straight up alter anybody’s soul against their …

Fury and Fulmination – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Twelve) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- The Anger of a Gentle Man – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Twelve) That Mahito’s a real jerk, isn’t he? Like, the kind of jerk you want to punch so hard in the face that his nose becomes an innie. Well, good news: Itadori hits him a lot. Like, a lot. Dude is pissed. Rightfully so, might I add, because Mahito up and idly transfigured Yoshino into a grotesquery, forcing him to fight Itadori. Oh, also Yoshino dies: not because of Itadori, but because Mahito was “a little rough” when forcibly altering the shape of the poor kid’s soul. So yeah, Itadori hits Mahito. And kicks Mahito. And headbutts Mahito. And throws him. And vows to kill him…which is a pretty big deal. Itadori’s own narration of the moment he snaps notes how his rage is so powerful, so primal that it makes his entire being up until that point feel like a lie: that’s some serious fury. I know we’re meant to understand that Itadori is in a rather dark place at the moment, but I’ll be …

Living the Electric Dream – Cyberpunk 2077 – Humble Opinions

Okay, first things first: I don’t give a flip about the graphical glitches that have been the topic of conversation wherever this game is concerned. The models take a hot second to load sometimes: big whoop. I know that might not be the most professional-sounding opinion, but whatever. I feel like talking about Cyberpunk; let the rest of the internet worry about optimisation. Like, did you know that you can wield a katana? Well you can, and that’s the sort of stuff I plan on talking about (technically “writing” about, but you know what I mean). Anywho, let’s dive into Night City, shall we? So…Night City is a little bit the worst. As a technological/societal beacon of a dystopian-like, futuristic hellscape, ol’ Night City is a melting pot of chaos, carnage, and crappy people. The game literally begins with you being blackmailed, betrayed, and almost killed—at least if you’re a Corpo. Oh, Corpo is one of the backgrounds you can pick for your version of V (the protagonist). The other two options are Street Kid and …

Vitriol and Vengeance – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Eleven) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- Skin Game – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Eleven) You know what type of villain is scary? A child. Seriously scary stuff. You know what’s even worse than that? An eminently powerful being with the mentality of a child. Some villains bluster about what led them down the path of evil, what event twisted their psyche until it snapped. But those with an eerie innocence? They just don’t know the difference between sanity and chaos. Whatever shiny idea floats through their mind: they latch onto it. What would happen if I ate this chocolate? Why do people like this movie so much? How far can I push a person before they do something crazy? It’s all valid; it’s all a game. Somebody standing in the way of your fun? Push them down. They get back up? Make them stay down. It’s all very frightening; it’s all very much Mahito (the villain in question, and the guy I usually refer to as Stitches…because of his stitches). See, Nanami (previously referred to, by me, as Salaryman) deduces that …

Torment and Treachery – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Ten) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- Working the Soul Case – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Ten) If there’s one thing villains love, besides evil, it’s philosophising and touting the inherent truth of their personal ideals. That being said, such conversations usually don’t occur so early into meeting a villain; so, seeing the embodiment of humanity’s fear of humans having a relaxing chat with a student is interesting, to say the least. Naturally, a being whose entire existence is owed to fear and hatred has a less-than-positive opinion on humans. The clinical manner in which this being discusses distorting people’s bodies is unnerving, as is the overall jovial tone of its voice. Salaryman (whose name I still don’t remember) even compares the curse with Gojo, noting their childlike simplicity and the tremendous power said personality conceals. Also, the state of the humans this being (who I’ll call Stitches from now on) contorts continues to horrify: not content with the ability to twist and stretch, Stitches has taken it upon themselves to test the limits of their power. You know, seeing how big …

Marbles With Attitude – Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia – Humble Opinions

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from Bakugan, it’s the intro to the anime series…and that’s about it. Oh, I also know that the Bakugan are spheres that open up into little monster figures. I know that isn’t a tremendous knowledge base to start from, but we’re all here to learn. So, with that in mind, let’s see what Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia has to teach us. Lesson one: Bakugan are from Vestroia. See, what a great start we’re off to. More game specifically, Bakugan are capable of crashing to Earth in a meteor-like form—a method through which our protagonist finds their very first Bakugan. Now, I’m not sure if every child in the game’s universe stumbled upon a glowing crater containing a Bakugan, but our protagonist did; so…yeah. I’m also being rather vague about our protagonist, as this is one of those affairs where you, the player, design them. Though a fun gimmick—as character creation always is—the same assets are also used to build most other NPCs, leading to a world where slight variations on a …

Bane and Bravery – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Nine) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- All Work and No Play – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Nine) And so Jujutsu Kaisen finally deals with one of the most horrific subjects: going to the movies (*lightning crash sound effect*). Okay, so it maybe isn’t for the same reasons that people are avoiding the movies (an other public gatherings) in the year 2020, but my point stands. Although, global situations would be on the back of anybody’s mind if they saw three high school students who had their heads contorted much in the same way a three-year-old child plays with Play-Doh. It’s…not a pretty sight. I mean, the students in question were jerks who beat up a kid and made him eat a cigarette butt—in the hopes of letting them “bang” an equally cruel classmate of theirs—but they still probably didn’t deserve to have their skulls crushed like an empty can. The fact that we know anything about these jerks is due to our insight into Fringe (that isn’t his name, I just haven’t remembered it yet…and he has a fringe). As the one …

Desire and Dishonour – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Eight) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- Beat and Greet – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Eight) Pop quiz, hotshot: what’s the best way to show that a new character is powerful? Have them beat up a character who is already established as powerful. What’s the best way to establish that a new character isn’t the friendliest tool in the crayon box? Have them beat up a character who is already established as (mostly) likeable. Enter Toudou: a big, buff badass from the only other jujutsu school in Japan, and the kind of person who pummels somebody half to death because he disagrees in their preferences in women. So…a strange guy. Also, what is it with Jujutsu Kaisen and characters proclaiming their type of woman? I know it’s only happened twice, but it happened very aggressively both times. S’weird. Regardless, Toudou’s absolute walloping of Fushiguro clearly shows that he is one tough customer—some added exposition explaining that he is already capable of taking down a special-grade. Moreover, it is only when versing a special-grade that Toudou even bothers to use cursed techniques, seemingly relying …

The Not-Too-Distant Future – Cyberpunk 2077 – Coming Attractions

Light up Night City. The future is…soon. I mean, that’s pretty obvious; but, the more specific future of 2077 is set to roll around slightly before the calendar indicates. So, what the heck am I talking about? Why, Cyberpunk 2077, of course. You know, that game that’s been driving people into a tizzy since 2012. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then have I got some news and/or trailers for you; also, what is the address of the rock you’ve been living under for the past eight years? So I know where to send the information. To cut a long story short, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game set in one of those dystopian futures that humans so often find themselves creating. Lawlessness reigns, and therein lies but one hope of a more glorious life: Night City. A megalopolis—fancy talk for “really big place with a freakin’ bunch of buildings”—Night City is overcrowded, technologically advanced, and home to every vice and sin you could imagine (plus a few you couldn’t). Think of it like reality …

Endlessness and Exclusion – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Seven) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- The Space Between – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Seven) Well, job done, we know what Gojo looks like under his blindfold: pretty. I’m not to proud to admit it, dude’s got eyes you can literally get lost in; he can make the world around you fade away. It sounds like a fan fiction; however, it’s actually terrifying. Apparently, Gojo can control the infinity that exists between objects—or something to that effect—making it so that attacks never actually make contact with him. Certainly a boon in battle, it also makes it so that Gojo can stand on water, block enemy blood from sullying his form (like a magic windshield), and possibly warp (though that may be a separate power). Oh, Gojo is also really tough, like, he no sells every attack that Volcano Head throws his way. Though we certainly knew that Gojo was tough, seeing him effortlessly combat an opponent we expected to be powerful is…awesome. It’s also more than a little cathartic, considering that Volcano Head is an arrogant jerk and also immolated an …

Conditions, Crocodiles, and Cats – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Six) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- The Bear Minimum – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Six) So, Itadori isn’t dead. Spoilers. Surprise. Fooled you. Well, maybe; chances are you thought he was coming back. Regardless, he’s alive and now secretly contracted to allow Sukuna one minute of freedom at the utterance of a specific word; however, Itadori has no memory of said deal—as per Sukuna’s additional condition. Still, as frightening as this sounds, Sukuna promised not to use his minute of freedom to harm or kill another being—the obvious lack of trust being mitigated by the apparent punishments that arise from breaking an agreed-upon pact. What a nice guy. Still, potentially dangerous or not, this development is largely pushed aside for Itadori’s real-world mission: learning how to used cursed energy. Though played mostly for goofs—and as an opportunity to throw in a few Shonen references—the intricacies of utilising cursed energy are actually pretty interesting. With cursed energy relying on negative emotions, jujutsu sorcerers must learn to utilise the faintest traces of these feelings to power their techniques, whilst also maintaining emotional stability …

Gloom, Guts, and Generosity – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Five) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- Heart Attack – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Five) Well, we were promised a death. Who would’ve thought it was (stop reading if you haven’t watched the episode yet) Itadori. Okay, there is a chance that he isn’t dead—a very large chance—but let’s just play this out like his death is permanent. And what a way to go it was: having your heart torn out of your chest. Yikes. You know, I’m starting to think Sukuna is a bad guy. Unfortunately, he is also clever. As heinous an act as it is, removing Itadori’s heart to prevent him regaining control of his body is genius. We know Itadori can freely subdue Sukuna’s control, so artificial boundaries needed to be established. Sukuna’s actions also showcase just how powerful his will to persist is. We don’t know why or how Sukuna was split apart and imprisoned, but I expect that is an experience he is not too keen to return to…which probably means he wasn’t happy when Itadori killed them both. Sure, Sukuna said he could revive using …

The Beast Offence – Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed – Humble Opinions

Everybody likes robots: it’s just one of those inescapable facts. People also tend to be rather fond of animals. So, why not combine the two? Also, why not throw some combat into the mix? Also also, make it an anime. I know it may sound crazy, but this particular formula culminates in Zoids. I mean, you probably already knew that given the title of this collection of words, but it’s more dramatic to pretend otherwise. Regardless, let us delve into a new game from a franchise reinvented…because they stopped making series/games in the original style a while ago and mad me sad. Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed is a fighting game based around, surprise surprise, Zoids Wild. Now, I myself am quite the fan of Zoids, but I will admit to knowing nothing of Wild. So, Blast Unleashed is my first foray into this new world…and it is wild. The first thing you’ll probably notice is just how “anime” the cast appears. I know, I know, “anime” is a wide-ranging medium, but you know what I mean. The main character has …

Terror, Trees, and Truth – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Four) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- A Face of Evil – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Four) Have you ever thought a situation was going to be bad, only to be proven wrong because everything was actually worse? That’s this episode in a nutshell. After being summoned to rescue five people unable to evacuate in time from something pleasantly known as a “curse womb”, our trio de protagonists find themselves way out of their depth. To be fair, such a scenario is fairly common in this world, apparently, and sorcerers are often forced to deal with curses far stronger than themselves. But hey, nobody said the logistics of fighting creatures beyond the ken of mortals would be easy…not that that reality is comforting in anyway. Still, pitting three first-year students against a special-grade curse is apparently an occurrence as rare as it is dangerous—and it is very dangerous. Yet, despite the intensity of the situation, this is a solid element of world building. Sure our leads can be thrown into terrifying situations, but knowing it is not an entirely unique scenario makes …

Salutations, Shame, and Subscribers – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Three) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- Meeting Is Such Bitter Joy – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Three) In this episode, our duo (trio if you count Blindfold) becomes a trio (quartet if you count Blindfold). Side note: I still don’t know Blindfold’s name off the top of my head. Regardless, our lead characters are joined by a girl from the countryside who just makes the most charming first impression. Side note: I am being very sarcastic. From the second she is introduced, Nobara (I looked up her name) makes all manner of assumptions based solely on how Yuji and Fushiguro introduce themselves. Though abrasive, people aren’t generally chummy with everybody they’ve met for all of ten seconds; so, realistically, it tracks. What confuses me, however, is the fact that Nobara’s entire backstory revolves around her hatred for the people of her hometown, whose judgemental nature drove her friend to move away. Again, human nature is fickle, but boy does it set up a contradictory meeting. Nobara does show moments of joviality, geeking out with Yuji about the highlights of the big …

Competition, Coups, and Chronology – Fall Anime 2020 (Week Two) – Season’s Writings

-Kane-  A Reason to Die – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Two) If there was one thing I would not expect to come after chowing down on a demonic finger, it would be seconds. Yep, it looks like Yuji’s decision to ingest Sukuna’s finger is set to take him on a demonically gourmet quest: to eat the other nineteen fingers. Oh, Sukuna had four arms, by the by, hence the twenty digits. Double oh, Yuji already ate a second one to prove his resolve—and his ability to actually serve as a vessel. Essentially, Blindfold convinced the Council of Scared Old-Fashioned Guys to hold off on executing Yuji until he has eaten all of Sukuna’s fingers, as killing a vessel kills the curse within them. It’s not the worst plan, and it’ll definitely make the series last longer than if they killed him right now. I’m certain we’ll eventually learn why Yuji is so special, and it’ll probably have to do with the parents that his grandfather kept attempting to discuss, but that’s a chat for a later …

Drums, Dragons, and Demons – Fall Anime 2020 (Week One) – Season’s Writings

-Kane- Finger Food – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode One) On the long list of things I would never do with the severed body part of an ancient being, eating it would be pretty dang high up there. Though I suppose that’s why I’m not the one imbued with the power of a curse powerful enough to be labelled a “special threat” even when correctly stored. So yes, much like Blue Dragon, Jujutsu Kaisen seems like it will follow the story of somebody who decided that consumption is nine-tenths the law of the jungle. Though definitely an unexpected turn in the grand scheme of things, the series sort of tipped its hand when Yuji asked why anything would try to eat a cursed object—in this case a severed finger—only to be told that doing so would grant the consumer tremendous power. Still, it was decidedly cool to see somebody oblivious of the potential dangers turn the opponents strategy against them—the “opponents” in this case being horrific abominations known as Curses. There is also certainly a greater reason for Yuji’s …

The Fight is Won – The God of High School (Episode Thirteen) – Season’s Writings

When a villain begins their diatribe against the very notion of existence, you know you’ve reached the final act. If, for some reason, said monologue does not convince you, the spontaneous arrival of a hero’s true power should assuage any doubts. Now, as to whether you actually care about any of these events…well, that depends on every moment prior; on how much you’ve come to care for each character through their adventures; on how much the world was built out around them. Without that care, well, even a spectacle can be boring. So…The God of High School didn’t make me care. Harsh, but, if anyone has been reading my ramblings, not unexpected. I’ll say it again: I don’t like dunking on a series, I really don’t. But man, I just never connected to this series on any decent level. Sure, the fights were cool, but I just didn’t care beyond the visuals. Take this episode for example—because that’s the one we’re talking about—it featured a transcended human fighting a physical god…and it meant nothing. It’s …

The Devil, You Know? – The God of High School (Episode Twelve) – Season’s Writings

They say that all good things must come to an end. What they don’t say is how cataclysmic said end may be. Now, I’m all about reducing human experiences into easy-to-understand phrases, but maybe add an addendum or two: all good things must come to an end, but be sure to stand outside of the blast radius of the incoming ballistic missiles that are going to do the ending. Something like that. So, it would seem we have hit the endgame of this series. Well, the part just before the endgame, since I believe there is still one episode left. I kind of hope there’s one episode left. Not because I’m champing at the bit for more God of High School, but because this particular segment of story is woefully underdeveloped—even by this series’ standards. I feel like such a jerk for constantly railing on this series, but it encapsulates my thoughts after walking away from every episode. And since that has been my experience every episode, even the apocalyptic stakes of this latest fight mean …

La-La Island – Giraffe and Annika – Humble Opinions

Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of fantasy every now and then? A chance to imagine a world that is free from the pesky shackles of reality; to ponder “What if?” and relish the nonsense that is born from it. As it turns out, children tend to lean further into imagination than those fuddy-duddy grown-ups; but, that doesn’t mean that adults can’t return to the world of fantasy every now and then. Giraffe and Annika is an odd duck. Though mostly a light RPG experience, each of the game’s five dungeons are capped of with a rhythm game: which is unexpected. And though not a bad idea per se, these segments are markedly separate from the other mechanics of the game. Still, I should probably explain the bulk of the game before I get to the events that end each dungeon. For the most part, Giraffe and Annika sees you—through the character of Annika—running around Spica Island. After a brief comic-panel introduction, Annika awakens with no memory and…you just go. Rather than any kind of tutorial, …

The Once-Bitten – The God of High School (Episode Eleven) – Season’s Writings

They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Now, while that sounds really cool and poetic, it essentially boils down to this: people are big, dumb scaredy cats. People get stuff, want to keep stuff, and fight the possibility of losing their stuff. Unfortunately, this mentality apparently also extends to the universe’s boss, the head man, the top dog, the big cheese, the head honcho, number one: G-to-the-O-to-the-D. Sufficed to say, things get serious when that guy gets frightened…and then orders the death of his closest ally. So yeah, apparently The Key is the charyeok of a being so powerful that the actual God utilised it as a protector. Also, Why can’t we watch that story play out? I mean, in the span of a single cold open I feel I know more about the world eons ago than the one I’ve been watching for the past eleven episodes. Even so, the concept of a being who wants revenge on God lending their power to a human sounds awesome…so why has it taken …

The Key to Success – The God of High School (Episode Ten) – Season’s Writings

The key to crafting an effective conflict—much like slaying a vampire—is stakes. For an audience to be emotionally invested, they must know what is on the line. If the heroes lose, the world ends—or something to that effect. It also helps if the audience knows both sides of a conflict. True, mystery can increase the threat of an opponent, but that still leaves one side that must be thoroughly explored. Without any of these factors, simply put, nobody cares. If there’s one thing The God of High School loves, it’s avoiding consequences. Throughout its entire run, every time a fight would have a solid impact on the story, it is side stepped. This week’s juke sees us learn of Ilpyo’s motivation for joining GOH. Long story short, Taek busted up the leg of one of Ilpyo’s friends—preventing her from ever fighting again. So, Ilpyo wants to win and wish her back to fighting form. Simple. Unfortunately, he is fighting Team Seoul (a.k.a. our protagonists). So, how do we root for our leads when their victory means …

The Spirit of a Warrior – The God of High School (Episode Nine) – Season’s Writings

When arranging an all-styles-allowed fighting tournament, one must abide by certain rules; without them, chaos would reign. The key is focusing the near-mortal combat to a well-lit arena—one where the whole family can watch the violence. Without production value, a tournament becomes nothing more than brawl, and that doesn’t line anybody’s pockets—with money or wishes that are potentially from actual gods. The arena also probably has to meet certain building codes; wouldn’t want a fighter accidentally hurting themselves when suplexing an opponent, with the intent to render them unconscious or worse. No, the violence has to be intentional; otherwise, what’s the point? It’s a trap! That’s what that guy from Star Wars says, right? Well, nobody in The God of High School says that…like, ever. Most events that have surrounded our main cast have, indeed, been traps; you think someone would’ve caught on by now. Regardless, Mori rushes to save his grandfather—who has been captured by the evil church—and discovers that his grandfather was actually a bomb…and also not his grandfather. Luckily—for both Mori and the series—point-blank …

The Calm Before the Storm – The God of High School (Episode Eight) – Season’s Writings

Running is cool; it’s like walking, except you get places faster. Still, there is the little thing where you get tired way faster and you have to catch your breath—which is ironic considering that you were just running. Does that mean your breath runs faster than you? and if it does, then why do you have to slow down to catch it? That’s some backwards ass thinking if you ask me, but apparently it’s the way things work; so, whatever. In this vein, a series sometimes just needs a moment to chill, breathe easy, and calmly present the story it wishes to tell…then it can get back to throwing bodies into a meat grinder masquerading as a tournament. For what seems like the first time since The God of High School started, this episode eases up on the titular tournament—and is all the stronger for it. Without barrelling towards the next match, the story actually had a chance to unfurl. I imagine it as akin to having a balled up piece of paper thrown at …

The New Normal – The God of High School (Episode Seven) – Season’s Writings

Chekov’s gun states that if you show something within a story—a weapon/power/ability—it must be used within said story; to present it otherwise is pointless. The God of High School states that if you show something within a story—charyeok—you must use it at every given opportunity and just, you know, go nuts with it. In fact, you don’t even need to show it earlier in the story: just chuck it in and wreck shop. This approach is also aided by not really establishing what the rules of the story are; who needs ’em, anyway? Speaking of rules, the God of High School remains true to its titular foundation: fighters must be high schoolers. However, the rules apparently do not limit said participants to those on their first run through high school. This technicality allows us to meet Jin Pum Kwang, a thirty-eight-year-old worker who has taken it upon himself to see through the education he once bailed on. On its own, this is a pretty admirable endeavour, and his wish upon winning GOH is to help …

The Conventional Wisdom – The God of High School (Episode Six) – Season’s Writings

They say that God moves in mysterious ways…what they neglected to mention is that there are a plethora of pantheons all bearing powers beyond mortal ken, some of whom really enjoy a good scrap. I mean, plenty of people enjoy watching a regulated fight for the purposes of entertainment; very few of them bestow otherworldly powers upon high schoolers for nebulous reasons. I mean, I imagine few of them could, but that’s besides the point. The point is…be responsible with your imbuing of forces humankind were not meant to wield? Yeah…that sounds good. We have confirmation, folks! An in-universe—partially off-screen—explanation regarding what the holy hell is going on. The long and short of it being: some people are able to tap into the realm of the gods and borrow power. Said fact is also the entire reason for the God of High School tournament, with Mujin seeking out others who can wield these godly abilities. I say “others” because, well, he obviously flattened that island in the first episode. I mean, we all knew it; …

The Moment of Truth – The God of High School (Episode Five) – Season’s Writings

In a competition: everybody wants to win. I mean, it wouldn’t really be a competition if people weren’t competing. Still, that doesn’t mean that everybody is competing for the same reason. Sure the prize may be a singular goal, but what it means to the contestants may differ; when these ideals clash, things can get messy. This is especially true when said competition involves knock-down, drag-out rumblin’. Okay…I’m not really sure where to start with this one. Though the drama of two friends clashing is always dramatic, it helps when said friends are…friends. Though it’s true that Daewi and Mori have been friendly with each other since they met, the two haven’t really spent that much time together—at least not that we’ve seen. They helped Mira find her sword and also helped Mira escape her ill-fated wedding…so, now that I think about it, their entire friendship has revolved around helping Mira. And in case that wasn’t clear, the memories that Daewi recalls about Mori and Mira—when told they’re friends—are those two moments…because they’re the only …

Camaraderie Isn’t Dead – Fairy Tail – Humble Opinions

Friendship. If I’m being honest, that’s all you really need to know about Fairy Tail. It is a property built entirely upon the foundation of camaraderie, of finding strength in bonds with others, of helping people move through the pain of their past in order to strive for the future. It’s uplifting, a little cheesy, and full of action that really simplifies the concept of emotional conflict. I mean, punching a bad guy in the face is also more visually appealing than internalised monologue, but the analogy is still in there somewhere. Also, I lied: Fairy Tail can be really cheesy…like, dangerously so. But that’s sort of what makes it so charming. Who doesn’t want to see the power of friendship turn the tides of darkness? Villains, that’s who. So, if you just thought to yourself that you’d like to see friendship lose…then I’ve got some bad news for you. First things first: Fairy Tail is not a game for people who have never watched or read Fairy Tail. I know that might sound mean, but I’m saying it …

The Big Day – The God of High School (Episode Four) – Season’s Writings

Everybody dreams. Whether in the sense of an idea that you wish to see achieved or a series of abstract thoughts that coalesce in your sleep, everybody dreams. We will be discussing the the awake kind; in fact, we most often are when it comes to anime. “I want to be the best!” “I want to save the world!” Every protagonist worth their salt is striving towards something, otherwise it would make for a very short series. However, there are times when bull-headed stubbornness is not as noble a sentiment as oblivious protagonists make it seem. Damning the consequences to protect something you hold dear, for example, means nothing if you damn yourself in the process. Not to start this off on a downbeat, but I wish to lay clear my biggest gripe with this episode: it should not have been one episode. So much character development is crammed into such a short period of time; it just doesn’t carry the weight it should. Almost immediately we are confronted by a man skidding his car …

The Powers That Be – The God of High School (Episode Three) – Season’s Writings

Wheresoever fighters gather, ideals shall clash…like, in the metaphorical sense; most of the clashing will be done with fists and weapons. Still, everybody has their own motivation for their actions; their own justification for what they do. They may sound right, wrong, smart, stupid, outdated, or just plain weird; but, they make sense to the person spouting them. Unfortunately for most, they aren’t protagonists—which sort of means that their purpose will often fall short. I mean, if the protagonist’s mind wasn’t the one we were meant to understand then we wouldn’t be given the most insight into it. Right? Following his rule-violating beatdown of Manseok, our impetuous lead, Mori, has found himself in hot water…not that he seems to care. Though the God of High School has been touted as a life-changing event, Mori has only shown interest in fighting people; we know nothing of his wish. Also, allowing Gamdo to get pummelled into oblivion would’ve made Mori a pretty lousy lead character. Though I do understand each character possesses their own desire to win, …

The Battle of Wills – The God of High School (Episode Two) – Season’s Writings

Fighting for sport is an interesting conundrum. Though the aim of the game is to see competitors go all out with their respective talents, the line of excess is much lower than in a real fight. You know, because you’re not actually trying to maim or kill your opponent. So, as pure a rule as “the match will not end until one participant is knocked out or gives up” may sound, it leaves a lot of grey area. Case in point: what happens when one fighter refuses to yield? Or worse, what happens when one fighter will not let the other yield? As it turns out, the answer to my question is a lot of bodily harm—broken bones to be specific. You see—having comedically jumped past the climactic clash that ended last week’s episode—we are given witness to the next round of combat, and it is not exactly pretty. Though we blast through a few bouts featuring characters who will undoubtedly become important as the story unfolds—such as wrestling girl and glasses boy—our main focus …

The Fight Is On! – The God of High School (Episode One) – Season’s Writings

If what movies have taught me is true, fights are standard fare at any high school. Be it a disagreement about money, an insult directed at a friend, or an attempt to prove one’s toughness: somebody is going to get hit. However, such paltry altercations have no place in an anime such as this—no, this is where the fighting gets serious. Suspend, if you will, your disbelief regarding the legal ramifications of allowing high schoolers to perform violent martial arts on one another. Have you done it? Have you suspended that disbelief? Good, because what follows is the beginning of a story in which it is apparently possible for a bicycle to keep pace with a motorcycle; a tale where normally fatal injuries are naught but an inconvenience; a show where nanomachines are used to gamify violence. So, you know, an anime. So, cards on the table, I’ve been excited for The God of High School since I saw its trailer. Smooth visuals, a badass soundtrack: what wasn’t to love? And, one episode in, I …

Dungeon Nice Monsters – Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – Humble Opinions

Since Pikachu’s Vacation, we have known that—despite nominative, and therefore linguistic, differences—Pokémon have their own interactions beyond human influence. They laugh, they fight, they party down, and they have adventures all their own. But, what happens when an adventure goes awry? What happens when a Pokémon is lost to the depths of a dungeon? Well, they’re rescued of course. This isn’t some tragic, twisted tale: this is Pokémon. And the power of courage and friendship trumps all—even the perils of walking ninety-nine floors beneath the actual ocean. Originally gracing our handhelds fifteen years ago, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is an interesting spin-off of the standard Pokémon formula. Gone are gyms, trainers, professors, Pokedexes, and mothers who wait until after you’ve walked one town over to give you shoes capable of supporting a run. Instead, you awaken as a Pokémon—a Pokémon who was once human. Mysterious, to say the least. Thrown into an uncertain world—not helped by the amnesia you are afflicted with—you immediately befriend a cheerful Pokémon and decide to join their rescue team: vowing to …

Comedy of Eras – Zoids: Legacy – In Retrospect

What can be said about Zoids: Legacy that hasn’t been said already? Probably a lot, because nobody else I know has ever played the damn game—a travesty if ever I did hear one. So, despite the fact that nobody asked and probably less people care, I shall detail the reasons why I love this game with a passion. Oh, and this isn’t one of those ironic passions either—I legitimately, and without reservation, love this game. In case you were wondering what the hell a Zoid was, allow me to explain. It’s a big animal mech. A bit of a stripped down explanation, but an apt one. Set on the fictional world of Zi, Zoids are the shape which combat has taken. Rather than tanks or planes, militaries based their weapons upon native, techno-organic species—sort of like if you strapped a cannon to a tiger, but also it was the size of a bus…and you sat in its skull. Okay, that sounds horrible, but it’s completely fine in the series…I think. Ethics in Zoids is similar …

SOLDIER of Fortune – Final Fantasy VII Remake – Humble Opinions

In 1997, a 1st Class SOLDIER left the military for reasons he cannot remember. This man promptly ventured forth to the Midgar underground. Today, still watched by Shinra, he survives as a mercenary. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can afford him…maybe you can hire Cloud Strife. Dun-dah-dah-daa, duh-duh-dah. This one has been a long time coming, hasn’t it? For years people have been clamouring for the next glimpse at FFVII, the next evolution of a game beloved by folks the world over. I mean, I never even played the original and I was excited by Remake, am excited by Remake. Which goes to show the impact this instalment in the ever ironically named series had on the world. So ingrained is the story of this game, that I doubt there is any player of games who doesn’t know at least a little something about the tale of Cloud and his friends in AVALANCHE (as tumultuous as said friendship began). Still, I will refrain from detailing any …

Two For All – My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising – Humble Opinions

What can be said about My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising without spoiling the plot in its entirety? Nothing, so buckle up for a slew of words that detail every single thing I found to be cool in this second film outing for the series I love oh so much. Fair warning, I am just going to write this as it pours out of my head; so, literacy be damned, this is about fun…and cool…and cool fun…and punching things really, really hard…with a film budget. As is apparently the case, My Hero loves throwing Class 1-A onto islands when it needs a film set piece. I don’t know why. Maybe so they can wreck shop and not impact mainland Japan? You could argue that it’s so Pro Heroes aren’t as readily available, but that only applies to this film, since the first took place on an island that had literally just called a bunch of extra Heroes to it. Regardless, Class 1-A is on an island, helping out the locals as part of their training. With …

Story of Another Hero – Trials of Mana – Coming Attractions

It is said that people are often the hero of their own story, the protagonist for which the plot progresses. That being said, it’s awfully hard to experience this beyond one’s own mortal form, what with the limitations of reality and all. Luckily for us, video games provide a lovely break from the rules of existence, allowing us to inhabit the saga of whomever we so wish. But even then our scope is limited. We may assume the role of the hero, but it is still an instance of a singular hero in their own story. But what if we could follow the stories of many a hero? Protagonists in their own rights, providing their own unique additions to one singular world? Surprise surprise, that’s what Trials of Mana is all about. Before the story unfolds, you are given a choice of six characters: Duran, Angela, Kevin, Charlotte, Hawkeye, and Reisz. Each possesses their own fighting style and, since it’s what we’ve been talking about, their own story. That being said, the overarching plot remains …

Heard Feelings – Bryce Papenbrook – Waxing Inquisitive

During Anime Festival Sydney 2020, I was fortuitous enough to sit down and chat with Bryce Papenbrook. Known throughout the dubbing world for his roles in, well, most things, Bryce explained the nuances of voicing characters who have already received such a treatment in Japanese. More than producing a similar performance, he focused on the importance of translating the emotions behind the voice. One may understand the intention behind dialogue presented in a tongue not their own, but to feel it is a visceral sensation granted by knowing the language spoken. That isn’t to discourage linguistically branching out, merely acknowledge what adaptational performances can bring. Simply put: We can all enjoy what we love, and love what we enjoy. And that’s nice. -30-

Theatre of the Voice – Ricco Fajardo and David Matranga – Waxing Inquisitive

During Anime Festival Sydney 2020, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down and talk with Ricco Fajardo and David Matranga. Known for their work in dubbing, they were more than happy to discuss their experiences and the overall process itself. That being said, the discussion of how dubbing relates to both theatre and the study of dialogue itself presented a unique insight beyond the trappings of booth recording. Were time not so limited, I would’ve loved to carry on this train of thought, as it goes to show just how much goes into bringing the characters we all know and love to life; a second time to us, but also a first. Which is pretty darn cool when you think about it. -30-

Fun at a March Convention – Anime Festival Sydney 2020

-Mattiese- Saturday the 7th of March started out real poopy. I ripped my pants, just barely made the train, and the camera ran out of storage half way through our first interview; Kane and I had to walk to buy a new SD card, and then walk all the way back to the convention, and boy was I already tired. None of this was ideal, and I started worrying what else would happen to me throughout the rest of the day. It was about 12pm when we finally stepped foot into the convention, and I already felt as if my worries were lifted. Cosplayers, stalls, and panels are what made up Anime Festival Sydney 2020; and man was it enjoyable. The first thing we did was head to the “Live Drawing with Shingo Adachi” panel, and boy is that guy talented. Adachi drew a few popular Sword Art Online characters (as he was character designer on the series), while answering questions related to his work. At the end of the panel, they let fans ask …

Switchin’ It Up – Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition – Humble Opinions

In 1320, Dante Alighieri finished The Divine Comedy. His epic poem dealt with humanity’s relationship with sin and presented a representation of the journey towards spiritual understanding. In 2001, Hideki Kamiya helmed a project that punched up the script a little; eventuating in a few more iterations, the third of which we shall be specifically speaking. Now, I won’t say that somebody of Alighieri’s literary magnitude would unequivocally love the work which took nominative inspiration from his poem…but he’d be crazy not to appreciate a game that has a guitar-scythe in it. Like, a guitar that is also a scythe. I don’t care what era you’re from, that’s cool. Now, if a guitar-scythe is up your proverbial alley, then boy are you going to love this game. Just in case you didn’t know, Devil May Cry 3 is all about style (as were its predecessors). If the protagonist wearing a red leather trench coat wasn’t proof enough, then…just, everything else will be. I mean, the entire opening brawl consists of Dante beating up demons with …

Once More, With Feeling – Final Fantasy VII Remake – Coming Attractions

“So, our objective here is nothing less than creating a new, definitive, benchmark RPG.” Since its initial release in the pre-centennial year of 1997, Final Fanatics have been clamouring for more content relating to the world of VII. And, to their hope, they were met with some. Crisis Core told us a story from the past, and Advent Children wove one from the future; yet, the initial story continued to draw passion. So much so that one brief glimpse, a tech demo in the era of the PS3, sparked a rallying cry that crystallised into one word: Remake. Now, what does this mean for people who care not for my faux-losophical ramblings? People want them some Final Fantasy VII. They want it shiny and chrome, pushing their consoles to the limit, reminding them of all those fond experiences they once had as children. Now, I say “they” because I am one of those who slipped between the cracks, who never played the original VII; so, consider my opinions as nostalgic-by-contact, a testament to how ever-present …

2D, or Not 2D? – Super Neptunia RPG – Humble Opinions

Since the dawn of 8-bit time, video games have brought joy to the masses and free space to wallets the world over. However, within this lightening of hearts and pocketbooks, a darkness lurked: the darkness of perceived competition. Be it challenges found within the halls of combat both mortal and otherwise, the clashes between multiple space-based laser fests. Contest. Favouritism. Focus. Extrapolations of a joyous rivalry that make some wonder: what will it take for everybody to just get along? Amnesia. It turns out it’s amnesia. Okay, so maybe the loss of memories isn’t a true solution to perceived aeons of in-fighting, but it’s a fine place to start; and by “fine”, I mean tropey; and by “start”, I mean start; and by what I’m about to say, I mean the next instalment of the Neptunia franchise: Super Neptunia RPG. That’s right folks, it’s time for another jaunt into the world where the fourth wall was torn down long ago, and the references flow like so much prized pudding. This time, however, our beloved Goddesses …

All the World’s a Stage – Final Fantasy IX – Humble Opinions

Though the cycle of life and death has been a concern and point of interest for humans since time began a-turning, none really know what happens after that final curtain is drawn. With that in mind, nobody can really say that a decades old plot to subsume an entire planet in order to facilitate the resuscitation of an older, more advanced planet is wrong. I mean, it probably is wrong, but is it really any crazier than the theories that so called scholars throw around? Yes. Of course. But those theories are usually well thought out and morose in their acceptance of life’s inescapable final destination, so let’s focus on the cuckoo-bananas-bonkers one instead. Since jokes about the hypocrisy of Final existing in the title of a game series that has spanned into double digits, let’s skip past that particular well and get right to the good stuff. Final Fantasy IX is back and possibly better than ever. I say possibly because I never actually played it the first go ’round. So, expect a surprisingly …

All In – My Hero One’s Justice – Humble Opinions

Since the dawn of more-than-one-fictional-character-with-superpowers, people have longed to see them punch each other really hard. Not in a serious way, more in a no-holds-barred-no-consequences kind of way. Enter fighting games. The perfect opportunity for heroes and villains alike to test their mettle and meet in completely non-canon scenarios, wearing completely nonsensical clothing, all for the enjoyment of whoever so holds the controller. I mean, there usually is a story in there somewhere, but that tends to be drowned out by the aforementioned clashing of fictionally historical characters…or historically fictional characters…or a bear in a hat. With a concept so closely surrounding the idea of decking villainy until it says uncle, it was never too hard to foresee a fighting game featuring those lovable chaps from U.A. High. This is especially true if you knew about the one that already came out for the 3DS, but let’s not argue semantics. That being said, some concession may have been given to this Japan only predecessor, as One’s Justice focuses on the tale of My Hero Academia …

Once and Future – My Hero Academia: Two Heroes – Season’s Writings

First, grab yourself a large bowl, preferably one the size of a mobile, self-sufficient island. Next, your going to want to throw in a few helpings of Heroes, with some innocent citizens added for good measure. Carefully raise the stakes with an important scientific expo and then let everything rest for about half an hour. If you followed the steps correctly, you should see a world threatening disaster form; however, don’t panic, this is what we were looking for. Place the finished product in a cinema and enjoy. Okay, so I know this isn’t technically part of the My Hero Academia season, but given the lead-in episode we watched, I felt it fair enough game to cover. Also, I kinda just wanted to talk about it…sue me. Anyway, Two Heroes sees us follow up with the newly mentioned legend of one David Shield, scientist extraordinaire and former partner to All Might. Invited as a surprise by David’s daughter Melissa, our Symbol of Peace finds himself swarmed by an adoring public and a rather awestruck best bud. …

The Best of Three – My Hero Academia (Episode Sixty-Three) – Season’s Writings

As you have no doubt ascertained from your own life experiences, challenge is what spurns us onward. It is a driving force that demands us to improve, lest we be left behind. It’s like some sort of selection, perhaps natural in nature and since nobody has ever flown such a theory before, I shall claim it as my own. Brilliant. Anti-social Darwinism aside, challenge also holds a myriad of forms, some more entertaining than others and others…well, others are sometimes a literal punch in the gut. Since he first popped his face through a solid stone wall, Togata has been a…noticeable presence. Standing as the numero uno of U.A. and all those within (perhaps even the faculty), he is a new major player in the make-up of this world. Apart from possessing the same lustre and dynamite hairstyle of one Symbol of Peace, Togata brings one element to the table that our Class 1-A lacks: Experience. Okay, so they’ve dealt with some serious Villains and found themselves on the wrong end of a decades long …