Author: Luke Halliday

Not So Low-Key | Loki Episode 3

In case the premise of an near-omnipotent group of intergalactic overlords overseeing and manipulating time to their whim and will didn’t remind you of Doctor Who already, Loki‘s third episode is about as classic a Who-esque episode of television as you’ll find. Loki and his new companion Sylvie, the female Loki variant, are marooned in the year 2077 on a distant planet’s moon that is soon to be destroyed. So, how was Loki‘s take on a Doctor Who episode? Well it was pretty good actually; but, much like most Doctor Who episodes, it ended in a somewhat frustrating fashion. The episode primarily focuses on Loki and Sylvie getting to know one another and examining the differences in their individual variant lives. As it turns out, the two seem to have lead rather different lives. We get glimpses of Syvlie’s backstory, but the show doesn’t reveal its hand fully just yet. What it does do is make it clear that Sylvie isn’t the big bad here. In fact, she seems to be rather noble in her …

A Trickster in Time | Loki Episode 1

Loki’s character arc had always been defined by his quest for one thing above all else: glorious purpose. This first episode of Disney Plus’ Loki makes it clear what that glorious purpose ultimately was: that being to help unite The Avengers and set them on their path to eventually save the universe from Thanos. As Loki watches his entire life play out in the final moments of the episode, the reality sets in that that glorious purpose was achieved, but this version of Loki now stands purposeless. The series picks up where we last saw Loki in Avengers: Endgame as he teleported away from the Battle of New York using the Tesseract. He is quickly picked up by Minutemen of the TVA (a.k.a. The Time Variance Authority). The TVA is an organisation that exist outside of time and space and monitor and maintain the “Sacred Timeline” as determined by the three great Time Keepers. Loki has become a variant and, as such, the TVA have now put him to trial for his crime against the …

To Infinity and Beyond – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Twelve) – Season’s Writings

After some ups and downs throughout the course of its run, SK8 the Infinity reaches its climax, and what better way for things to conclude than in a skateboarding deathmatch? Yes, you read that right. Langa and Adam take to a new course for their tournament final, and it is a deadly track designed by Adam himself where one wrong move could mean certain death. The race itself takes up the majority of the focus in this final episode, with very little time for other things, but it may very well be the most exciting race in the series—only the Reki vs Adam match rivals it. There isn’t too much to say about the race itself. It is basically a dangerous new stage where you can fall off a cliff and die, and of course Adam is repeatedly trying to assault Langa and kill him with his skateboard—which is okay, I guess? I never really understood why this is allowed and why no one has pressed charges against Adam for the grievous bodily harm he …

Blood, Serum, and Tears – The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Episodes Three and Four) – Season’s Writings

Well, after a brief break we are back with yet another Season’s Writings article for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. For the sake of brevity, we will be covering both episode three and four in this week’s write up—and there is quite a bit to get through, to be sure. Episode three picked up on the cliffhanger ending of episode two, with Bucky and Sam confronting Baron Zemo in gaol, to get more information from him regarding the Flag Smashers. Without Sam’s approval, Bucky aids Zemo in busting out of prison and we are off to the races. Zemo makes a fantastic foil for our heroes and it is hard not to like the guy—despite his being a bad guy and what not. Zemo guides Sam and Bucky to Madripoor, which in the Marvel comics has a lot of significance in relation to the X-Men, but that isn’t of importance in this show. Instead, Madripoor is the location of the mysterious Power Broker, a shadowy figure who had ordered the manufacturing of a new …

Feeling Infinite – SK8 the Infinity (Episodes Ten and Eleven) – Season’s Writings

After taking a break last week, we are back with a double-header write-up for SK8 the Infinity—covering episodes ten and eleven. Thankfully, episode ten put a cap on one of the most frustrating storylines in the series, that being the discord in the friendship between Reki and Langa. After several episodes of miscommunication and bouts of jealousy, the boys put that all aside and—instead of having a big apology between the two—decide to just shut up and skate together. I thought this was actually a really poignant and satisfying way to conclude the storyline here and reaffirm our leads as best buds heading into the series climax. Sometimes moments like this, of simple character connection, speaks more than any monologue ever could. There were also a few strange moments in the episode. Not only was Cherry hospitalised after Adam’s assault in the previous week, but Shadow is also randomly assaulted by some dude with a bat, saying that his girlfriend broke up with him because of Shadow. Did I miss something? For the life of …

Keep on Walking, John – The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Episode Two) – Season’s Writings

I have to give it to Marvel here: they really pulled a fast one here. While it would have been easy to make John Walker an awful human being and completely undeserving of the shield, they did the complete opposite—presenting him not only as a man trying to do his best and fulfil the role of Captain America, but one who genuinely seems to be a good man, not so different from Steve Rogers. This flipping of the script places our heroes in an interesting predicament. While it’s clear that John Walker is not a bad man implicitly, and he is simply trying to fulfil his responsibilities and do his best to follow in Steve’s footsteps, Sam and Bucky can’t help but not like the guy. After all, Steve chose Sam, and not this John Walker bloke. There were a lot of interesting elements on show in this episode, but the crux of the episode is the reunion and newfound partnership of Sam and Bucky—who both decide to team up together to investigate the Flag …

Indulge the Snyder – Zack Snyder’s Justice League – Humble Opinions

After years of fan campaigns and hashtags aplenty, Zack Snyder’s Justice League—also known colloquially as The Snyder Cut—has finally been released in all of its 3 hours and 52 minutes of indulgent glory. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. Anyone who has ever watched a Zack Snyder film would note that he has a very particular style and directorial vision for his films. That vision and style come to its natural endpoint here, in what is both Snyder’s magnum opus and a love letter to himself. This is without a doubt one of the most self-indulgent films perhaps ever released. With the shackles of Warner Bros. executive oversight removed, Snyder makes the most Snyder-esque film he possibly could have. There are slow motion shots in excess, very few (if any) moments of levity, and a dark colour palette that is ultimately personified in the film through a Superman costume change. If you are a fan of Snyder and his work, this may be the greatest film you’ve ever seen. However, if you found …

Not Quite Captain Falcon – The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Episode One) – Season’s Writings

We didn’t have to wait too long for our next dose of Marvel, as The Falcon and The Winter Soldier launched on Disney Plus after only a week’s break since WandaVision ended in climactic fashion. Immediately, it becomes clear that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is more in line with the MCU’s expected style than WandaVision was. It is action, intrigue, witty banter, and some authentic emotional beats throughout—all staples of what makes the MCU so successful. The episode takes place several months after the events of Avengers: Endgame and, after a heroic mission that felt very Top Gun-esque, we see that The Falcon has refused Captain America’s wish for him to take up his mantle and shield. Instead, he opts to hand the shield over to the government—who put it into the Captain America museum we saw back in Captain America: Winter Soldier. This decision feels like the furthest thing from what Cap would have wanted, considering his entire story arc was about not trusting in the government and believing that the “safest …

With the Subtlety of a Skateboard to the Face – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Nine) – Season’s Writings

This was not an episode filled with subtlety and nuance; I’m beginning to see some troubling trends in SK8 the Infinity as it powers through its second half. While the first half of the series focused on falling in love with skating and the wonder of it, the second half seems to be more focused on melodrama and ridiculous skateboarding stunts that are as dumb as they are unbelievable. While it’s fair to say that sports anime often have somewhat of a fantastical take on things, SK8 the Infinity began as a very grounded show that focused on skateboarding in a realistic and authentic manner, but that seems to have gone out the window as time has rolled on. This episode sees two of the tournament matches take place. First off is Joe versus Langa, which was fine for the most part and despite some ridiculous moments—like Joe removing his feet off the board and riding it from his hands in a Superman-like position. This manoeuvre could not possibly be performed in reality. That said, …

Until Next Time – WandaVision (Episode Nine) – Season’s Writings

A part of me left the final episode of WandaVision feeling underwhelmed; but, after some thought and contemplation, I realise that a lot of the reason I had felt that way was due to unreasonable, great expectations that I had ultimately conceived in my own mind. Not unlike Wanda conceived the reality of the Hex in her mind, I had conceived several notions about what and who I thought should appear in this series. However, this was never meant to be a show about Reed Richards, Mephisto, and the X-Men universe’s Quicksilver, this was always meant to be a show about Wanda Maximoff and The Vision, and it is only fitting that this final episode gives them the spotlight—no surprise cameos or shocking twists to steal their thunder. Ultimately, most everything is wrapped up neatly as the episode concludes, leaving the major plot lines of the series resolved. Wanda defeats Agatha at her own game, Vision and White Vision have a big CGI fight (and then a philosophical debate), Fake Pietro was just a dude …

Infinity on High – Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Movie – Humble Opinions

It goes without saying that Demon Slayer has proven to be quite the phenomenon, both in Japan and around the world. The fact that a Shonen Jump adaptation film wound up being the highest grossing Japanese film of all time, surpassing the likes of such cinematic greats as Your Name and Spirited Away, is an impressive feat to say the very least. So, does the film live up to the ridiculous level of hype that has surrounded it? Yes. Yes it does. A big part of what sets Demon Slayer: Mugen Train apart from other Shonen Jump anime films is that it actually adapts source material and is canon to the ongoing story of Demon Slayer. Often these anime film takes on anime series either go the abridged format, adapting a popular story from the anime in abbreviated form, or they go for a completely original story that takes place outside of the canon of the main series. Perhaps the crucial element that led to the success of this film is that it is compulsory …

The Tournament Begins – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Eight) – Season’s Writings

And so the tournament has begun. Reki and Langa are still painfully “broken up”, but we are starting to see the beginnings of some kind of reconciliation for the pair. I, personally, am not the biggest fan of relationship dramas between characters in anime, other than a few exceptions (see Luffy versus Usopp in One Piece), because most of the time it just feels like drama for the sake of drama rather than a genuine emotional reasoning to cause their conflict—and SK8 the Infinity is straddling that line somewhat dangerously at the moment. This week’s episode largely focuses on the beginning of the tournament being held by Adam, and we see a few of the races along the way. Frustratingly, Reki chooses not to enter the tournament and continues to wallow in his misery. I feel we are starting to lose sight of the Reki we know and love, and it is starting to border on being out of character here. I understand that Reki feels jealous and hurt, but it honestly feels like the …

A Trip Down Memory Lane – WandaVision (Episode Eight) – Season’s Writings

“What is grief, if not love persevering?”—poetic words from Vision that tell us everything we need to know about WandaVision. At its core, this is a series about grief, what it means, and how it can affect us all. This week’s episode is focused in on giving the answers we have been looking for. As we saw last week, Agatha Harkness has been manipulating things in the background in WandaVision and we learn here that although she has been pulling some strings, she is not the one who created the Hex, nor does she have control over it. Instead, she is a curious witch; an ancient one indeed, as we see her during Salem in 1693. Agatha is simply curious about how Wanda has done this spell-to-end-all-spells, and so she forces Wanda to take a trip through her memories in order to get to the bottom of it. We see Wanda’s childhood and come to understand why the reality of the Hex is in the form of sitcoms; it is honestly the most simple answer, …

The Break Up – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Seven) – Season’s Writings

Well, it had been teased in the previous episodes, and everything comes to an ugly head here: Reki and Langa have officially broken up. What does this mean for our favourite skater-boy duo? I, for one, hope this is only a temporary separation because I love seeing these two skating the streets of Okinawa together. It just doesn’t seem right for them to skate alone. This week’s episode was rather significant in its goings-on compared to last week’s breather beach episode. A lot the focus here is on the slow but sure divide growing between our two leads, as Langa improves and surpasses Reki as a skater. Reki feels jealous and like Langa is leaving him behind. Langa, of course, is just having fun and loving skateboarding, blissfully unaware that the more he improves the more distance he is creating between himself and Reki. Reki goes into a bit of a depression spiral over the course of the episode trying to replicate tricks Langa had done and even chooses to not attend the reopening of …

Agatha All Along – WandaVision (Episode Seven) – Season’s Writings

Well, it looks like the theories were right. Agnes is Agatha Harkness and—as we learn in the chilling musical number that concludes this episode—when it comes to many of the series questions and mysteries, well, it is was Agatha all along. Fans of the Scarlet Witch comics would be familiar with the character of Agatha Harkness, a super-powered witch who has both served as a mentor and antagonist to Wanda in the comics. Many had theorised that Agnes was an abbreviation of Agatha Harkness and we learn here that that was correct. The episode opens in what is now a 2010s-style mockumentary sitcom, in the same vein as Modern Family or The Office. We discover that Wanda is slowly losing control of the world around her, as items are changing appearance without her say so, and things generally just seem to be falling apart. Lucky for Wanda, Agnes rocks up just in time to take care of the kids and give her some “me time”. On the other side of town is Vision, who is …

An Unexpected, Lasting Cultural Impact – The O.C. – In Retrospect

It was August 5th, 2003 when 7.5 million people tuned in to the first episode of The O.C.—a series which would unexpectedly go on to have a lasting and wide-reaching impact on pop culture in the West. But you wouldn’t have known that at the time. The marketing and advertisements put out by the Fox Network would have you believe you were signing up for a 90210-style teen drama about rich kids and their rich-kid problems. While that is a part of what The O.C. explored, it wasn’t really what The O.C. was all about. The O.C. took the glitz and glam of rich white life and put it through the lens of the social outcasts. A line from series’ lead Ryan Atwood sums up The O.C.‘s perspective on that world: “You know what I love about rich kids? Nothing.” It was a defiant flipping of the bird to every rich-kid teen drama on television and one that would become the series’ mantra throughout. The series was an instant smash hit on television, raking in …

A Beach Episode – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Six) – Season’s Writings

I must say, it has been quite a while since I’ve seen the classic “beach episode” anime trope pulled out by a series. SK8 the Infinity does just that here in its latest episode, which (despite feeling like a bit of a filler episode) did manage to include a few moments of importance and progression. The premise behind this week’s episode is that after the S race had been discovered by the cops, no one has been able to hit the trail since. This leads our crew to decide to go on a bit of a vacation while, hopefully, the heat on the S race and its participants dies down. They decide to head to an island off the coast of Okinawa and, as expected, some beachy shenanigans unfold. There isn’t too much remarkable to comment on here. The guys try to pick up chicks and fail spectacularly, they play beach games, mess around in the water, and just have some fun in general. However, there was a really pivotal moment in this episode. Reki …

Spooky Scary Scarlet Witch – WandaVision (Episode Six) – Season’s Writings

Shit has well and truly hit the fan on WandaVision. Following last week’s shocking cliffhanger ending, where we were introduced to the recast Pietro (as portrayed by Evan Peters), we are now in a Malcolm in the Middle–style sitcom, and it is Halloween in Westview. The episode makes great use of the unique style of Malcolm in the Middle and gives some great material for Tommy and Billy to work with, as we see them breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience, much like Malcolm would do. While Malcolm in the Middle was an overall positive-vibe show, this episode is utterly fuelled by an undercurrent of dread. This reality that Wanda has been happily living in is falling apart at the seems and it seems to have devastating implications ahead. Wanda had planned for the family to go trick-or-treating together but Vision decides to go off script, claiming he is going to be part of the neighbourhood watch. Wanda knows this isn’t the plan but she loves Vision and doesn’t want to fight …

Love Thugs – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Five) – Season’s Writings

Last week’s episode of SK8 the Infinity ended with Reki being hit by Adam’s brutal Love Hug technique and being seriously injured. We open up this week’s episode with the aftermath of that chaotic S-race beef: Reki has been hospitalised and suffered head trauma and an apparent broken arm. He won’t be able to skate for the foreseeable future and, after witnessing the Love Hug firsthand, he is begging Langa to not skate against Adam. While Langa acknowledges the danger presented by Adam, there is a part of him that feels an inescapable desire to skate with him. Reki recounts that his best friend in the past was seriously injured while skateboarding and gave up skating forever, leaving behind his friendship with Reki in the process. Langa promises that, even if he falls victim to Adam, he will not stop skating. The majority of the episode from here was really about Langa training for his S race against Adam. Cherry, Joe, and Miya all chip in to advise Langa on how to potentially survive the …

Recasting Was All the Rage – WandaVision (Episode Five) – Season’s Writings

Marvel have really left us on a tantalising cliffhanger this week on WandaVision. Despite the longer episode run time, I was left begging for more, with the episode ending in shocking fashion with the appearance of a certain character who, you could say, you may not have seen coming. This week’s episode expands upon the series’ formula thus far, after last week’s break from the sitcom style to give us a look at the world outside of Westview. This week, we get pretty much an even split as the sitcom world continues in a 1980s style—reminiscent of Family Ties or Rosanne—alongside the ongoing events outside of the anomaly, as both begin to truly intersect. The events in the sitcom world largely revolve around Wanda and Vision now having to be parents to young Tommy and Billy. However, unlike previous episodes where things were slightly off-kilter, the wheels are well and truly off the wagon now. Agnes in an odd moment asks Wanda if she would like her to “take it from the top” and redo …

Grandfather Problems – Lupin III: The First – Humble Opinions

The legend of Arsene Lupin is not one to be understated. The classic gentlemen thief has long been a public domain character, so there has been countless takes on Lupin, but perhaps none have proven to transcend the original more than Monkey Punch’s iconic Lupin III. The purported grandson of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsene Lupin, Lupin III is likewise a master of disguise and an expert thief who—along with his frequent collaborators Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko—travels across the globe seeking his next great heist. The fully CG animated film Lupin III: The First explores the relationship between Lupin and his grandfather in a way the Lupin the Third anime series and manga never has. The film parallels Lupin’s own journey in the footsteps of his legendary grandfather with the emotional discovery of the character of Laetitia. The film’s title, The First, is of course in reference to the original Arsene Lupin, who our hero Lupin III has stylised his life and career as a thief around. We have never seen the impact his grandfather had had …

Skating Uphill – SK8 the Infinity (Episode Four) – Season’s Writings

Let me begin by saying, fuck you Adam. Not in recent memory have I felt such immediate disdain for a bad guy in anime as I do for Adam. That just makes the events of episode four of SK8 the Infinity hurt all the more. Last week’s episode ended with Reki challenging pro-skater Adam to a beef on the S race to avenge Miya, whom Adam merciless mocked. We pick up right where we left off, as both skaters agree to the terms of their S race. If Reki wins, Adam must apologize to Miya; if Adam wins, then Langa must skate with Adam. Since Langa defeated Miya in the previous episode, Adam was immediately interested in the prospects of Langa. Langa agrees to the terms, showing his confidence and faith in Reki. We learn, over the course of the episode, a few things about Adam. He is the founder of the S race and is infamous for hospitalising any skater who dares to challenge him. How does he hospitalise them, you ask? Well, he …

We Interrupt This Program – WandaVision (Episode Four) – Season’s Writings

It seems that the villain of WandaVision has been hiding in plain sight all along. Who’d have thunk it? Certainly not this humble viewer. However, episode four of WandaVision goes to great lengths to confirm what we had hoped wouldn’t be true: Wanda is seemingly the one behind this strange new reality and has potentially enslaved an entire town of people to play a part in her elaborate sitcom fantasy. Episode four begins in a truly intense fashion as we flashback to the events of Avengers: Endgame, when The Hulk had used the Infinity Gauntlet to bring back everyone who was snapped out of existence during “The Blip”. We see Monica Rambeau materialise in a hospital, as dozens begin materialising all around her. She learns that she has been missing for five years and, during that time, her mother and best mate of Captain Marvel, Maria “Photon” Rambeau, has lost her battle with cancer. We see the world slowly begin to adjust to half the universe’s population returning and see that a new organization has …

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 …

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 …

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, …

Live, Die, Repeat – Palm Springs – Humble Opinions

After several months of anticipation, Palm Springs, the latest Andy Samberg vehicle from Hulu, made it’s way to the Prime Video streaming platform in Australia—meaning I was able to finally watch the darn thing after watching the trailer ad nauseum. As someone who loves the film Groundhog Day, I was naturally drawn to what looked to be a modern take on the infinite time-loop scenario. So was Palm Springs worth the wait? Yes, very much yes it was. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs takes the infinite time-loop concept of Groundhog Day and flips it on its head. Unlike Groundhog Day which sees Bill Murray repeat the titular day over and over, Palm Springs explores what it would be like to share that experience with someone else. Set at a wedding in Palm Springs, we learn that Samberg’s character, Niles, has been stuck in the loop for an immeasurable amount of time and has completely given up on trying to escape the loop—just embracing the fact that he is in this situation nothing really …

Driving Dirty – Dirt 5 – Humble Opinions

It has been thirteen years since the first instalment in the Dirt franchise and, over the course of that period of time, Codemasters have refined and polished the series into what has become one of the most enjoyable racing properties on the market. Dirt 5 continues that trend, providing what may very well be the most complete off-road rally-racing video game experience to date. Upon loading up Dirt 5 for the first time, I was immediately blown away by the plethora of gameplay options available to me; the deep customisation options only add to that. There are countless gameplay modes and a rather incredible career mode with its own narrative—that features the voice work of iconic voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker. The career mode will have you running the gauntlet in a variety of different styles of racing, be it rally, stadium super trucks, and even ice-road racing. You never get a chance to get bored, as the game switches things up frequently enough that you are always taking on new challenges and …

Burning Rubber – Ride 4 – Humble Opinions

Since the series’ inception back in 2015, the Ride series has proven with each instalment to be staking its claim as the best motorcycle racing game on the market. Now, with Ride 4, we get the most complete and polished iteration of developer Milestone S.r.l’s vision for the motorcycle racing video game genre. If Forza Motorsport was a revolutionary take on the motorsport gaming experience, Ride 4 is the same kind of revolution for motorcycle racers. It is, simply put, the game that motorcycle racing fans have been waiting for. Ride 4 builds upon the incredible game design of the previous Ride instalments, with a plethora of new features and modes that are sure to delight motorcycle enthusiasts and Ride fans alike. There are immersive, advanced customisation options new to Ride 4, as well as the very interesting new AI system developed by Milestone S.r.l—which will adapt to the way you play, changing as the game goes on. The new Career Mode will, however, likely be the bulk of the experience for those who want …

FIFA for Anime Fans – Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions – Humble Opinions

Football video games are trotted out by the year with little more than a face lift. Yet football fanatics, loyal as they are, purchase the latest FIFA or PES game each year without fail—mostly because the franchises have earned the trust of the players. The games play very well and are simple yet complex, meaning they can be enjoyed by both casual and hardcore players alike; it is undoubted that these football video games are very fun. Enter Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions—an anime fan’s FIFA game. Whether you are in the know about the legendary Captain Tsubasa football anime series or not, there are all the hallmarks of both a great football game and a great anime game here. Not unlike Captain Tsubasa‘s modern equivalent Inazuma Eleven, the players in the game are able to use supernatural abilities to spice up the play with some wild and explosive shots and manoeuvres. Gameplay-wise, the core foundation of the game is in the football matches themselves. If you have ever played a FIFA game, the football …

Claire de Lune – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Humble Opinions

After an eleven-year break, the spin-off series of the Final Fantasy franchise returns with the remastered edition of the game that started it all way back in 2003: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition. Given new life on the Switch, PS4, and mobile devices—with online cross play between the platforms—the remastered edition is an ambitious effort from Square Enix, to say the very least. Unfortunately, its own ambition may have ultimately proved to be its defining flaw. Generally speaking, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition plays relatively identically to the original GameCube title—more a dungeon-crawling action RPG than the typical Final Fantasy formula. The crux of the original game was its multiplayer mode, which was truly where the game shined. Rather disappointingly, the remastered edition launched with a plethora of issues that plagued the online multiplayer mode, making it impossible to play the multiplayer mode for the first several weeks after launch (a problem that plagued Oceania region more so than other regions). That said, after ultimately patching the issues and correcting things, the game …

A New Legend Begins – Ary and the Secret of Seasons – Humble Opinions

There have been an incalculable number of games that have tried to emulate the magic of The Legend of Zelda games—very few have ever come close. Ary and the Secret of Seasons undoubtedly owes a lot to The Legend of Zelda as well; the more and more you play it, the more you come to find that Ary has undeniably and indisputably carved out her own legend. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a vast game that just begs to be explored. The world of Valdi and its colourful cast of characters are bursting with life, in ways that games of the same genre often fail to accomplish. The expansive world is rich with detail and you will no doubt find yourself wanting to inspect every nook and cranny. The main hook of the game is Ary’s season-changing abilities, which adds an even deeper layer to the world—as each season can open different paths and place a different perspective on each location. Speaking of the season-altering abilities of our heroine, Ary, it hearkens back to …

Not That Nirvana – Nirvanna The Band The Show (Season One) – Humble Opinions

Nirvanna the Band the Show is the most innovative and genre redefining comedy series in recent history, but you probably don’t know that; you probably wouldn’t have guessed it was even a comedy series. You probably don’t know that because it also has one of the worst titles for a comedy series ever, likely by design. The show, which is named after the titular Nirvanna the Band (which in turn is named after the band Nirvana), is an uproariously hilarious romp that feels unlike any other show on television. It follows life-long best friends Jay McCarroll and Matt Johnson as they concoct increasingly elaborate plans to get their band, Nirvanna the Band, booked at a bar restaurant in Toronto called The Rivoli. The show is filmed in mockumentary style; however, it blends that style together with candid footage and improv, featuring people unaware that the show is even filming. Ultimately, it comes off as a bizarre Canadian hybrid of The Office and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat. The show frequently features references—and even straight up recreations—of …

You’ll Never Be The Same – ‘Flowers for Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes – Humble Opinions

It has been two months since I finished reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Since then, I haven’t been able to pick up another book. Upon reading the final pages, teary eyed on the train home from a long day at work, I found myself emotionally devastated. I was deeply moved by this book, and it had a profound impact on me. I had planned on writing this humble opinion that very same night—in fact I created the draft post for it that night—but, no matter what I did, I couldn’t bring myself to put words to the devastation. This is not just any old book. Flowers for Algernon is quite simply one of the greatest works of literature in modern history. I thought a lot about what this article should look like or what I should write about: Should I analyse the plot of the book or break down its themes and why they resonated with me? Should I dive into the structure of the book and how it may be one of …

Trouble at the Tournament – Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (Galaxian Wars Arc) – Humble Opinions

For the first time ever, the complete original run of the Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac anime series has been released in full English dub—thanks to Netflix. That’s right, all 114 original episodes—which aired from 1986 to 1989—are now available to English language audiences completely uncut and with restored visuals and audio. The series has previously seen release in heavily edited formats, such as the ADV Films dub which retitled the series as Knights of the Zodiac and commissioned punk band Bowling for Soup to cover A Flock of Seagull’s 80s hit “I Ran (So Far Away)” for the theme song. The dub was widely criticised for being almost unrecognisable from the original series—with its plentiful alterations and censorship. Having no legal manner in which to watch the series, many English speaking fans had to resort to fansubs; not anymore. As a long-time fan of the Saint Seiya series and franchise, I decided to give the Netflix dub a spin and found myself amazed at its production quality and incredible dubbing effort. As such, …

Newtype Wonderland – Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On – Humble Opinions

From the arcades of Tokyo to PlayStation 4’s across the globe, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On gives console gamers the addictive arcade experience—from the comfort of their own home. Maxi Boost On is an upgraded port of the wildly popular arcade cabinet game Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. and he action and intensity of the Mobile Suit Gundam series is on show here in what may very well be the best entry into the series’ long line of video games to date; its addictive arcade-style nature makes this a game that is hard to put down. Maxi Boost On plays exactly like its arcade counterpart: placing you in an expansive map and charging you with combating enemy Mobile Suits in fast-paced and often times overwhelming action. There is a massive list of Mobile Suits available, spanning just about every iteration of the Gundam franchise. If there is a particular Mobile Suit you have in mind, it is most likely available to play in—and likely upon launching the game as well. I was truly impressed by …

Kickflip My Heart – Skater XL – Humble Opinions

It has been a very long time since someone has done something to reinvent the wheel with the skateboarding video-game genre. The genre has always been fun to dive into and just enjoy skating, but games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the Skate series always had a more arcade style to them—never truly feeling like real skateboarding. Enter Skater XL: an innovative new entry into the hallowed halls of skateboarding video games, which comes about as close to skateboarding simulation as can be. Part of what made the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series so addictive were its simple controls and how easy it was to pull of insane tricks. Skater XL takes the opposite approach: attempting to simulate skateboarding rather than simply have you tap a button to do a trick. Skater XL implements an innovative Independent Foot Control system which allows you to manipulate and control each foot of your skater with the analogue sticks. This admittedly comes with a steep learning curve at the start, but once you come to understand the …

The Secret is Out – Ary and the Secret of Seasons – Coming Attractions

Playing Ary and the Secret Of Seasons feels immediately familiar. Ary’s world of Valdi feels very Disney-esque and her ability to harness the power of the seasons will no doubt remind many of Frozen—though the story itself may have more in common with Mulan. However, in terms of gameplay, Ary and the Secret of Seasons clearly takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda franchise and even plays like a fully 3D version of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons—a Game Boy Color title which likewise allowed players to control the seasons to transform locations and solve puzzles. Although the game feels so very familiar, Ary and the Secret of Seasons pays homage to its inspirations while proving to stand on its own merit as well. We were able to try out a preview build of the game on PC thanks to our friends at Turn Left Distribution. The preview build gave us the ability to play the first section of the game, learning the basics of the game’s world and meeting its various colourful …

The Cult of the Machine – Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus – Humble Opinions

The Warhammer 40,000 franchise has arguably one of the most well-crafted lores in popular culture. It is complex and deep in all the right ways, which makes it ripe for exploration in a variety of different mediums—be it on the table top, in literature, or through video games. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus may very well be one of the most interesting entries into the long-running multimedia franchise. Combining XCOM style strategy gameplay with the world and lore of Warhammer 40,000 proves to be a winning formula for Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is now available on the Nintendo Switch and it actually finds itself perfectly at home on the console. The game plays like a faster paced XCOM-style strategy game and lends itself nicely to quicker gaming sessions—compared to other gaming entries in the Warhammer series which can be more time demanding. That said, it doesn’t mean that the game itself has been simplified or dumbed down; instead the Warhammer experience has been streamlined through a turn-based strategy game format—to superb results. For those uninitiated …

Trying to Log Out – Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris – Humble Opinions

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris begins with series protagonist Kirito trying to log out of the virtual reality game he has found himself in. To his surprise, he is seemingly trapped in the game without the ability to log out. It is a moment that encapsulates the entire experience of Alicization Lycoris—you can’t help but want to log out and play something else. The Sword Art Online franchise is source material ripe for making a video game from; however, so many of the attempts to make a Sword Art Online game have failed to capitalise on the inherent excitement of the series’ concept. While some like Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet actually make an attempt at exploring the video game world in a compelling and engaging way—telling an original story and letting you craft your own player in the Sword Art Online world—Alicization Lycoris is too focused on being a direct adaptation of the anime series, rather than being a good game. Alicization Lycoris retells the story of the “Alicization Arc” of the series, following …

Crystal Clear – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Coming Attractions

It has been almost two decades since the Final Fantasy series saw the release of one of its most unique instalments: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo GameCube. The game was revolutionary back in 2003 and redefined what a Final Fantasy game could really be. The original GameCube game proved to be so popular that it went on to spawn its own spin-off series under the Crystal Chronicles banner—with titles released on both the Nintendo DS and Wii. Differentiating themselves from the mainline Final Fantasy games, the Crystal Chronicles series were all set within the same world and followed characters and stories spanning two millennia. However, after the release of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, the series has seemingly been sidelined or forgotten by Square Enix. Although, that is all about to change with the upcoming Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition for the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to Bandai Namco and Square Enix, we were able to get a look at this remastered edition of Crystal Chronicles; needless to say, from the …

Can You Dig It? – Mr. Driller DrillLand – Humble Opinions

It has been five years since the last instalment in the Mr. Driller series—a mobile spin-off title: Mr. Driller for Kakao—and more than a decade since the last main series release. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, much like Dig Dug (the series which spun off into Mr. Driller), this series was effectively a dead property at this point. That is why it comes as such a pleasant surprise that Namco Bandai has revived the series with a full remake of the GameCube classic which defined the series: Mr. Driller DrillLand. The GameCube game has been remade completely from scratch here for the Nintendo Switch in glorious fashion. Mr. Driller DrillLand for the Nintendo Switch maintains all the features that made the GameCube version so remarkable, all the while expanding upon them and improving the visual aspects of the game. For the uninitiated, Mr. Driller is essentially a wicked combination of Dig Dug and Tetris—only you’re playing Tetris in reverse. The aim of the game is to drill your way through the various blocks and make …

The Most Insane Spectacle in The History of Wrestling – AEW’s Stadium Stampede – Going Over

What can ten professional wrestlers create in an empty 80,000 seat arena? Well, we now have the answer to that question: absolute entertainment. On 23 rd May 2020, All Elite Wrestling held their annual Double or Nothing pay-per-view event—headlined by the first ever 5 vs 5 Stadium Stampede match. This match would see a ring placed in the middle of a gridiron football field, yet allows the entire stadium to be the battleground for what ultimately amounts to wrestling’s answer to Marvel’s Civil War. The idea of this match ultimately sounds silly: wrestlers brawling across a massive football stadium. What can they really do that couldn’t be done in a standard wrestling environment? Well, the answer was beyond this writer’s imagination. It was simply the most insane spectacle in professional wrestling history. The match has been brewing since the inception of AEW’s weekly program, AEW Dynamite, when The Inner Circle first formed and laid The Elite to waste in the main event of the first episode—in chaotic fashion. Over the course of the past eight …

One Record Wonder – ‘Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too?’ by The New Radicals – In Retrospect

Whether you were aware of it or not, you’ve likely heard a song written by the New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander. While the New Radicals only ever released one record—Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too?, which itself produced arguably the most timeless one hit wonder in music history “You Get What You Give” (this writer’s all time favourite song)—Alexander would go on to enjoy a successful career as a song-writer for artists such as Beyoncé, Ronan Keating, The Kaiser Chiefs, Enrique Iglesias, The Struts, and even Santana—just to name a few. Alexander even received a Grammy Award for writing the song “Game of Love” by Santana and Michelle Branch. Despite the countless hits he had written for other artists, it is still the New Radicals one record wonder Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too? that stands as Alexander’s crowning achievement as a musical artist. While the New Radicals are most best remembered for their proverbial one hit wonder “You Get What You Give”, and for good reason, their one and only record is a musical odyssey the …

Self-Help Fiction – ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho – Humble Opinions

The Alchemist is a book I have had recommended to me countless times throughout my lifetime; it is undoubtedly a wildly popular book that has sparked a cult following. Finally conceding, I picked up a copy at the recommendation of my local book store clerk—the 25th Anniversary edition in fact. The book presents nicely and doesn’t fail to intrigue with its curious blurb, which boldly claims that a persons only responsibility in life is to fulfil their personal destiny. It is the type of phrase that is both eye catching and enticing to potential readers, the sort of thing that The Alchemist is full of—immediately intriguing lines of philosophy, written in a simple manner that anyone can understand with little thought. It is in those allegedly philosophical lines that The Alchemist hangs its entire story on. At the half way point of reading this novel, I wasn’t sure if I was reading something genuinely great or absolutely awful. The book plays more like self-help disguised as fiction than it does as traditional novella. This is …

Escaping Life’s Daily Grind – How I Found Purpose and Meaning Through Skateboarding – With Interest

“It’s funny to think that you’re just on a piece of wood on wheels and somehow you are controlling it. It’s just amazing if you really think about it.” These were the musings of my younger brother after I had taken him out for his third skateboarding session. It is that initial sense of wonder that hits just about everybody who has ever decided to skate for the first time. There is something unique and profoundly affecting about skateboarding, and—with the skate parks across the country made a no-go zone, and police handing out hefty fines for those caught skating amid this global pandemic—I find myself longing for the state of zen that comes with a board beneath my feet and the wind against my face. Ultimately, this pandemic has allowed me to reflect on how much skateboarding has affected and bettered my life. I find myself back where I was a few years ago: a time before skateboarding became a part of my every day life.   View this post on Instagram   Stay …

Connecting The World – Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Humble Opinions

Luke Halliday My first experience with the Animal Crossing series was on the GameCube. Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and witnessing the feverish hype surrounding the game, it is evident that Animal Crossing has become one of Nintendo’s most popular and acclaimed series since its humble debut on Nintendo’s purple box that could. Tracing the history of the Animal Crossing franchise is an important part of understanding why New Horizons has had gamers clearing shelves across the country, not unlike the pandemic panic buying of toilet paper that has concurrently been taking place. The Animal Crossing series began rather humbly. The GameCube version didn’t allow for travelling to other players villages via online play because, quite simply, that wasn’t a possibility at the time. The game simply charged you with paying off your home loan, building up your own house, and welcoming other villagers to your town. I have many fond memories bonding over this game with my siblings—my sister of which has rather eagerly aided me in making this a joint Humble Opinions piece, …

The Heart of the Storm – Kafka on the Shore – Humble Opinions

When asked about the secret to understanding his novel, author Haruki Murakami had this to say: “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write.” Kafka on the Shore is as described by Murakami as “filled with riddles”. It is a labyrinth of prose that may prove to be utterly mystifying upon first read. It is a novel that, while being a bona fide page-turner, is a book that challenges the reader to really stop and think about it. A deep dive into the themes and ideas conveyed in this book undoubtedly is a rewarding experience. Kafka on the Shore is somewhat of a departure from Murakami’s usual work. Unlike books like Norwegian Wood or …

Strategic Romantic – Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV – Humble Opinions

After fourteen installments across countless gaming platforms dating as far back as 1985, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series stands as one of the longest running franchises in gaming history. Yet despite that fact, you’d be forgiven for not having come across the series previously. While it is a genuinely popular franchise in Asia, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series has always struggled to find an audience in the Western world. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is perhaps best put as the culmination of the entire franchise up until this point. The strategic gameplay system is damn near perfected after all these iterations, and will provide strategy game fans more than enough to sink their teeth into. The game requires a lot of thought and focus in order to do well, proving to be a hardcore strategy gamers delight. That said, if you are in the market for something of a more casual experience set within the Three Kingdoms historical setting, perhaps you’d be better off exploring the spin-off series …

We Are All Team Rider! – Interview With TokuChris – Waxing Inquisitive

Hot off the heels of the successful Team Rider meet up in New York City and ahead of the upcoming C2E2 event in Chicago, I had the opportunity to correspond with Chris Boothroy of TokuNation (known in the toku community as “TokuChris”) regarding all things tokusatsu and Kamen Rider. Here’s what he had to say: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. To start off could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in the tokusatsu community? Thanks for reaching out to speak with me! My name is Chris – known more as TokuChris on social media. I’m a husband and a father first and foremost. I’ve been a fan of tokusatsu for roughly 30 years and have really gotten in to the greater community of it in the last 10 years. I started TokuNation back in 2012 because aside from a blog or a Facebook group here or there it was hard to find streamlined news and information for toys, collectibles, and the shows. I’ve also started PwrRngr.com …

Who’s Eating Who? – Parasite – Humble Opinions

The buzz surrounding Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite cannot be understated. The film has just gone on to utterly clean up at the Academy Awards including winning the top prize of Best Picture – the first non-English language film to do so in the 92 years of the awards ceremony. Truly an impressive feat regardless of the films native language and country of origin. Admittedly, going into Parasite I had little to no knowledge of what the film was exactly about. I had only watched two other films by Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer and The Host, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I know Joon-ho is acclaimed for nearly all of his films, so my expectations were that this too must be at the very least as good as Snowpiercer and The Host. So I rented the film on Google Play, decided to turn down the lights, and got stuck into the film. What awaited me was truly beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. Parasite is at it’s core a film about a poor family …

The Future of AEW – Media Call with Cody Rhodes – Going Over

On 19th February 2020, All Elite Wrestling held a media conference call with Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes. Members of the media were invited onto the call to ask questions regarding the future of All Elite Wrestling, and we at SnapThirty were lucky enough to be invited to partake in the conference call as well. There were several very interesting pieces of information divulged by Cody during the Q&A portion of the call. Interesting to note was that Cody spoke in detail about the talent development and scouting process of AEW. He announced that he has opened a wrestling school which will be called ‘The Nightmare Factory’ and confirmed that AEW signees Sadie Gibbs and Anthony Agogo will be training at the school. Furthermore, he confirmed that he will be scouting talent at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament with Taz later this year. When asked his opinion on who is the currently most underrated wrestler in All Elite Wrestling, Cody immediately said Jack Evans, member of the tag team ‘The Hybrid Two’. He said that not …

The Beauty Through The Pain – The Ten Lashings of Cody Rhodes – Going Over

On the 5th of February episode of All Elite Wrestling’s weekly television program AEW: Dynamite, a monumental storyline angle took place. After weeks of build up and bargaining between Cody Rhodes and his former friend (turned bitter enemy) Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF), the terms upon which Cody would get his match with MJF were set. Cody was unable to lay his hands on MJF until said proposed match; Cody would have to face MJF’s bodyguard Wardlow in a steel cage match; and most curious of all was that Cody would have to survive 10 lashings at the hands of MJF on live television, as MJF put it, “In front of his friends, family and god.” It was during this instant classic angle that All Elite Wrestling would truly define themselves as the alternative to WWE that they had always promised to be. While WWE is so often a product driven by the destination, AEW has set itself apart as being a product that puts equal, if not more, focus on the journey to said destination. …

A Date With Destiny – The Story of Tetsuya Naito and KENTA – Going Over

On the 9th of February 2020, Osaka Jo-Hall was the stage of the most anticipated wrestling bout in recent memory. ‘The Ingobernable One’ Tetsuya Naito put both his IWGP World Heavyweight championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship on the line against the most hated man in Japan: KENTA. Why was this match so hotly anticipated by puroresu fans? Simple really: the fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling wanted to see Tetsuya Naito beat the hell out of KENTA. The paths that have led both men to one another can be traced back to the years 2013 and 2014: one year that would hold wild success, and the other utter devastation for both men. In 2013, Naito would win his first G1 Climax tournament and ultimately go on to challenge IWGP World champion Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom the following January 4th, in 2014. At the time, Naito was portraying the character of the Stardust Genius, a ring technician and clean cut babyface. Following a negative fan reaction to a confrontation between Naito and Okada, the board …

You’re Gonna Carry That Weight – Cowboy Bebop – In Retrospect

It was a quiet night, the year was 2002, everyone in the house had headed to bed, but unlike them I couldn’t sleep. I used to be a little boy, I hadn’t yet turned 11 at the time, but that day was coming, so were a lot of other unfortunate things. I didn’t know that on this particular night however, I just knew that I wasn’t tired yet, so I snuck downstairs and switched on the telly. I had the volume down real low and sat about 30 centimeters from the screen so as to not wake up my parents who would no doubt put an end to my late night TV exploration. I was mighty curious about what aired in the middle of the night, while all the little boys and girls were asleep in the world, my parents wouldn’t let me stay up and watch, which made me all the more curious. Upon surfing the channels I was struck by something unusual. It was an animated dog running amuck in what appeared to …

Tales of Berseria – Review

The Tales series continues to release new installments more and more frequently, with a new title having been released on a yearly basis for quite some time now. Other franchises releasing installments at this pace have often fallen flat and the quality of the games decreased severely. Remarkably this has not been the case for the Tales series which continues to knock it out of the park with each release, Tales of Berseria being the latest in the winning streak for Bandai Namco. Set in the same universe as Tales of Zestiria, one of the series finest installments to date, Tales of Berseria finds itself at an advantage most other Tales games do not, there is a pre-existing world and history to mine for story in interesting ways. Most games in the series start with a clean slate, Berseria however jumps back in time set around a hundred years before Zestiria and lays out how the world once was. It is interesting to note that the terminology used in the time of Berseria is different …

RADWIMPS release music video for their song ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’ featuring Jump Heroes

Fans of Japanese rock band RADWIMPS would likely be familiar with their ode to Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, aptly titled ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’ which featured on their critically acclaimed 2016 album Human Bloom. The song sees RADWIMPS lead Yojiro Noda opining of his desire to be a man just like a hero out of Shonen Jump, to be there for the girl he has feelings for whenever she is in a bit of a pinch, looking out for his chance to be her hero. It is a beautiful song through and through. A music video has now been released for the song and it happens to feature countless Shonen Jump heroes throughout the video like Izuku Midoriya of My Hero Academia or Yuma from World Trigger to name a few. You can check out the video below to get a nice listen of RADWIMPS latest single paired up with some heroes of Jump. RADWIMPS’ Human Bloom album is currently available in full on their Spotify channel, for those who are inclined to be using Spotify. …

Nintendo Memories: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Jahanzeb Khan Street Fighter II Turbo Despite being a die hard SEGA fan and the Mega Drive (Genesis) being my unanimous 16 bit machine of choice, my very first foray into video games ever was through the Super Nintendo. The first video game I ever played was Star Fox (known in PAL territories as Star Wing). Star Fox didn’t necessarily cement my love for video games (the would be Sonic the Hedgehog) but it was still a hell of a way to get introduced to video games. I may love the Mega Drive more but I couldn’t overlook the amazing library of the SNES. There’s just too many quality games on the system, games that are still as relevant and playable today. Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound, F-Zero, Mario Kart… the list just goes on. What do I consider as my FAVOURITE of them all? Well that answer changes every time I’m asked this question. For now, I’m going to mention the one game that made the SNES VERY …

GACKT Casually Enters Championship Poker Tournament, Ends in 7th Place

In the continued adventures of legendary visual kei superstar GACKT, he has casually entered into a championship poker tournament known as the Asian Poker Tour. Outside of being a wildly successful Japanese musician and revolutionizing the visual kei genre over nearly 20 years in the business, GACKT had also recently begun his own Youtube gaming channel where he would play video games mostly in silence while surrounded by a selection of expensive vehicles. That said, it still comes as a surprise that GACKT has suddenly revealed himself as a world class poker player entering this tournament without warning or fanfare, for reasons only known to him. Perhaps more interesting to note is that out of 96 entrants he placed 7th, winding up in the top 10 poker players in all of Asia. It is crazy to think that along with the many of projects that GACKT is working on, he still manages to find the time to engage in a high-stakes poker tournament, because that is the kind of thing he just does. In my …

Utada Hikaru’s Fantôme Album Tops 1 Million Sales, New Music Video Released to Celebrate

After a 6 year stint on indefinite hiatus, iconic Japanese singer/songwriter, Utada Hikaru returned in September last year with a brand new album titled Fantôme. Since its release the album has gone on to top 1 million units sold making it 4 times platinum in Japan. This is Hikaru’s first album to top 1 million units sold since her breakout smash hit album First Love way back in 1999. Not only was the Fantôme album the top selling album of 2016 in Japan but it also received the Best Album Award at the 58th Japanese Record Awards. To celebrate the album hitting 1 million sales and winning best album, a new music video has been released for the song “Boukyaku (feat. KOHH)” which you can check out below. Most Westerners would remember Utada Hikaru for her theme songs contributed to the Kingdom Hearts video game series such as ‘Simple and Clean’ and ‘Sanctuary’. Rumour has it that she is slated to return for Kingdom Hearts III with another song serving as the theme for the …

Reggie Says Nintendo Has Learned From Wii U Mistakes

Let’s be honest here for a minute guys, the Wii U was a bit of a failure for Nintendo. It sold poorly and never really became a mainstream console, forever in the shadow of its predecessor the Wii. There was a lot of reasons for why this happened, a terrible name, lack of third party support, an overconfident Nintendo and above all else a poor marketing campaign that ensured the console was dead on arrival. With all this taken into consideration, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has claimed that Nintendo has learned from their mistakes with the Wii U and does not seek to repeat history with the Nintendo Switch. Reggie says that Nintendo ‘thought deeply’ on the failure of the Wii U and they feel that they did not communicate to consumers what exactly the Wii U was and what it was capable of doing. In relation to what they learned he says that they are doing things differently with the Switch, claiming that, “Nintendo Switch is a home console you can play …

Has ‘Fire Emblem’ Reached Critical Mass?

Yesterday, Nintendo held a special Fire Emblem focused Nintendo Direct conference. During this conference they announced 3 new Fire Emblem titles alongside the previously revealed Fire Emblem Warriors game. With so many Fire Emblem games announced and so many having been released in recent history, one has to ponder the question; has Fire Emblem reached critical mass? Of the announcements were a new mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes, a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden for the Nintendo 3DS called Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and a yet to be titled new Fire Emblem game for the Nintendo Switch. Of course this is all hot off the heels of the announcement of Fire Emblem Warriors a musou styled game from Tecmo Koei stalwarts Omega Force. Fire Emblem Heroes is set to hit mobile devices on the 2nd of February and the other titles are set for sometime throughout the rest of the year. That’s not to mention the fact that there will be another line of Fire Emblem amiibos released to tie in with the …

‘Your Name’ Makes History, Surpasses ‘Spirited Away’ as Highest Grossing Anime Film Of All Time

Just when you thought that the hype train for Your Name, Makoto Shinkai’s anime masterpiece, was beginning to slow down, it goes right on and becomes the highest grossing anime film of all time hitting a whopping $281 million USD at the box office and counting. The film is sure to continue pushing that figure higher and higher with it set to open in 92 more countries in this coming year. The record was previously held by Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal anime fantasy Spirited Away. Even the most optimistic of pundits weren’t too sure that Your Name would surpass it, but indeed it has. Just don’t let Shinkai know, he is a little touchy on the subject. Having personally reviewed the film for our site, which you can check out here, I must say that Your Name is every bit deserving of this historic accomplishment. The film is an honest to god masterpiece that has touched the hearts of audiences across the globe. Whether he will admit it or not, Shinkai has done something wonderful in making …

Arc System Works Announce BlazBlue for Nintendo Switch, The Wheels of Fate Are Switching

The wheels of fate are turning indeed with Arc System Works announcing that they will be bringing their popular BlazBlue fighting game series to the Nintendo Switch. BlazBlue is an anime style fighting game with high octane action and very bizarre phrases such as calling rounds ‘rebels’ and the battle cry that the wheels of fate are turning. Arc System Works did not reveal any footage of the game unfortunately nor did they give a release date but the very fact that we are getting a new BlazBlue game on the Nintendo Switch is reason enough to be excited. I hope my main monster Arakune returns for this new game! -30-

Nintendo Switch to Retire Miiverse and Streetpass, Thanks For The Memories

Who doesn’t love a good Streetpass? Heck I have even made friends because of it (Hey, Rolan). Well if you are a fan of the Streetpass feature of the Nintendo 3DS, don’t expect to see it return on Nintendo’s upcoming home console/handheld hybrid, the Nintendo Switch. The same looks to be the case for the popular social network Miiverse which is also being retired according to David Young, Nintendo public relations director. Both popular features are set to be retired on the Nintendo Switch in favour of deeper social media integration with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitch. All of which will be accessible by the new ‘Share’ button on the Joy-con controller. So while it seems that will be the replacement of the Miiverse function, Nintendo has no plans to introduce a replacement for the Streetpass, which seems like its time has passed. Farewell to Streetpass and Miiverse. Thanks for the memories, but sometimes you just gotta switch things up. -30-

‘Eccentric Family’ Anime Named Official Goodwill Ambassador for City of Kyoto

What’s fun is good! Those are the words by which the Shimogamo tanuki family of the fantastic and painfully under appreciated Eccentric Family anime live by. Those very same words will now be the slogan for the City of Kyoto which has announced that the Eccentric Family anime and its colourful cast of magical characters will be the first ever global goodwill ambassador of Kyoto. The ambassadorship aims to use the Eccentric Family characters and series to promote the lovely city of Kyoto to the rest of the world, aiming to raise tourism and help boost the local economy of the city. As part of the inauguration event, the Shimogamo Shrine, the real life shrine which the characters in the series live at, played host to a special ‘Gathering of Tanuki’ event with fans of the series gathering in tanuki coats to celebrate the new ambassorship as well as the news of the upcoming second season of the Eccentric Family anime. ANN were present to grab some photos of the event. You can check out …