All posts filed under: Film/Television

Tomorrow’s Guardians | My Hero Academia Episode 113

Oh yeah, this series used to be about Heroes. We’ve spent a decent enough chunk of time with world-hating anarchists that that fact sort of got left behind. Well, we’re back in it and…the season is over. Drat. And for a season-ending episode…not a whole lot happened. We saw the 1-A kids showcase some new moves on a horde of (seemingly self-aware) robots and then celebrate their return to school with hot pot. It all essentially boiled down to a quick run through of the roster, making sure you remembered what everyone can do and making sure that all of 1-A got a smidge more screen time: a fun reminder of a cast less bent on destroying the world. That being said, I will point out how adorable it was that Ashido told Kirishima that her new move was based on his; maybe there’s a reason she’s so acutely aware of Uraraka’s mimicry of Midoriya. Either way, it’s always nice to see connections in 1-A that aren’t mired in familial drama or society-upending secrets.

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 …

A Real Nail-Fighter – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Twenty-Four) – Season’s Writings

Well, this episode just kicks all kinds of ass, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure you could count how many times the audience blinks on one hand…you can count zero on one hand, right? The action kicks in immediately and it really never stops until that metaphorical bell rings. Even the villain’s gloating is swiftly ignored for a flurry of blows to the face: it’s awesome. What’s doubly awesome is that Kugisaki gets a chance to go all out and also make it to the end of a fight. Seriously, I feel like she always gets taken out before victory is assured. This time, however, she pulls some seriously metal moves and damn near intimidates her opponent into giving up. Okay, maybe the pain feedback loop had something to do with it, but ol’ Face-Back (the elder, though not oldest, of the curse brothers) wouldn’t have undone his technique had he not been convinced Kugisaki and Itadori could live up to their threats. Oh, Kugisaki uses her technique to ricochet Back-Face’s decomposition, causing all involved a …

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 …

One Little Push – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Twenty-Three) – Season’s Writings

With the usual explosion of energy and animation that makes Jujutsu so damn cool, this episode throws us into the whack-a-mole battle of the century. Apparently, that curse what done killed all those people at their doorways pops up in a multitude of bodies (though all the same doofy/scary shape). Fushiguro even notes how this curse is far weaker than they expected, tearing through its forms with the help of Kugisaki. All’s well that en—and Kugisaki’s being pulled through a portal. And Itadori jumped in too. And one of Sukuna’s fingers is here. And one of those creepy special-grades…this situation is wack. Still, this cavalcade of chaos does give Fushiguro the push he needs to become stronger. Sure dire-moment power-ups can be a tad cliché, but this one makes thematic sense…and is really cool. With unexpected confirmation (for us) that his ultimate technique is a sacrificial one, Fushiguro realises that he never truly pushes the limits of his skill and imagination. If his skills don’t work, he always has a trump card that’ll take him …

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 …

Tales Out of Middle School – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Twenty-Two) – Season’s Writings

If ever there was an anime episode for fans of both extreme sports and haunted locations, this would most certainly be one…also, what a very niche Venn diagram to be a part of. Regardless, this episode sees our lovable trio off to investigate a series of grisly murders, wherein victims were found brutalised at their own front doors. We do actually get to see one such murder in action, as a man loudly yells over the phone that his automatic door is on the fritz—a sign that the murderous curse is drawing near—before threatening to kill the inspector for not having already fixed the issue. He dies (the yelling guy, not the inspector). It’s not that sad. Did he deserve to be violently rent asunder? Probably not. But he did seem rather unpleasant, so I didn’t feel that bad. Also, we eventually learn that the curse targets people who underwent a “trial of courage” by venturing under a bridge in the dead of night. I don’t think that warrant his death either, but it definitely …

Out of Left Field – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Twenty-One) – Season’s Writings

Oh my, it’s a baseball! Yep, for reasons known only to Gojo—and us once Gojo himself reveals he did it for the sake of mixing up tradition, as is his wont—the second day of the Kyoto–Tokyo Exchange Event is not a series of individual battle: it’s a baseball match. That being said, the match is ultimately a collection of small skits that happen to take place on a baseball field. Arrow Guy strikes out after musing too long on Itadori’s reasons for becoming a sorcerer (undermining the sombre backstory playing out on screen), “Mechamaru” rocks up in his baseball-pitching-machine backup body, Broom Girl flies around to catch fly balls, and Todo gets walloped in the face by a pitch from Maki—which she did on purpose and literally every student praises her for. It’s a definite hard turn from the high stakes of last episode, but it’s a much needed situation: if things kept unfolding at the pace they had been then we’d all have exploded from the sheer outpouring of awesomeness. Not that this episode …

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 …

Pound of Applause – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Twenty) – Season’s Writings

Boom! Clap! The sound of a punch: the fight goes on and on and on and on and. Boom! Clap! Beset by petals and wood: switch out with me, switch out with them. And now that you’ve got that tune stuck in your head, let’s ruminate on the sheer spectacle of this episode (which is just pompous talk for, “Holy crap. Holy crap. Did you see how sweet this episode was?”) Not content with being a figurative brick wall made of literal muscle, Todo busts out his cursed technique: Boogie Woogie. But don’t let the name fool you, it is as awesome as it sounds. Long story short, this skill lets Todo swap places with a target—a fact he quickly lets Hanami know. He then uses this ability to rapidly switch places with Itadori, throwing Hanami off balance and allowing the best friend duo to pummel the special-grade into the dirt. The episode maintains this furious energy by slowly revealing the hidden depths of Boogie Woogie. Not only can Todo switch places with an opponent …

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, …

Tree Slugger – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Nineteen) – Season’s Writings

Damn, nature, you are indeed scary. In case that previous statement wasn’t eminently know, Hanami (formerly referred to, by me, as Branch Eyes) continues to absolutely decimate the forces of Jujutsu Tech. They smack Fushiguro and Arrow Guy (still don’t remember his name) around like it was nothing, and the sheer power gap between them and Inumaki (that guy what talks magic) is enough for the rebound of the latter’s technique to take him out of commission. Oh, and did I mention that even Maki gets beaten up swiftly? Remember, she’s that sorcerer who bested two powerful opponents with ease. Plus, just for good measure, Hanami also stabbed Fushiguro with a cursed branch that threatens to destroy his body. So…yeah. I’m pretty sure this all counts as dire straights. But, what’s that? On the horizon. Why, yes, it’s those lovable best friends: Itadori and Toudou! Yep, it’s finally time to see our protagonist jump back into the fray and put his intensive, albeit brief, training to the test. Inspired by the encouragement of his best …

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 …

Hurt Not the Trees – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Eighteen) – Season’s Writings

In this stage of our weekly roundup of what Jujutsu Tech students done fight who, Fushiguro and Arrow Guy rock the scene (and no, I’m still not very good with remembering these people’s names). Surprising absolutely no one, Arrow Guy uses a bow and his namesake to fight. However, he also infuses them with his own blood, a medium which he is able to manipulate due to his bloodline curse technique—an irony he himself notes. This technique allows him to kick physics to the wayside and have his arrows bend it like barbarian Beckham and hone in on his target. It’s pretty cool. On top of that, the dude’s strong. Like, punch-a-tonfa-in-half strong. It’s pretty scary. That being said, the reason behind his raw power is a tremendously creative utilisation of his technique: doping. By controlling his blood while it’s still in his body, he can manufacture the effect that is a no go in the world of sports. Simply put: the dude makes his blood carry more oxygen to his muscles, and this boosts …

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 …

Sister Attacked – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Seventeen) – Season’s Writings

So, in case it wasn’t clear, sorcerers are some seriously strong folk. Like, tear-down-forests strong. Also, the voracity with which they use said strength is turned up to eleven when traumatic backstories come to the surface—even if they’re not their own stories. Admittedly, this is a touch weird, but let’s call Broom Girl’s defence of Mai “character development by omission”. Sure, we still know nothing intensely personal about the flying lass, but her vehement respect for Mai shows an intense loyalty—for better or worse. Broom Girl also expressed a belief that female sorcerers are worse off than their male counterparts, as they are also required to maintain appearance in addition to strength. Kugisaki soundly doesn’t give a crap about this opinion, but I can’t say I doubt its truth. The (literally) old guard maintaining the world of sorcery are traditional to the core, which is code for saying offensively exclusionary…which is code for sexist, probably racist, and narrow-mindedly violent. So, if them wanting to kill Itadori wasn’t enough, there are some more reasons to want …

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 …

Gorilla Warfare – Jujutsu Kaisen (Episode Sixteen) – Season’s Writings

Panda isn’t a panda. Just thought you should know that, you know, in case you paid no attention to the dialogue in this episode. On account of it reiterating that point. A lot. Also, Panda transforms into a gorilla/panda hybrid—which is a pretty big clue that he isn’t a regular panda. Well, that and the whole able-to-speak thing. Regardless, Panda ain’t no joke; pummelling Mechamaru up and down the forest, before finishing the bout on some (now busted up) rooftops. In addition to learning just how powerful Panda is, this fight also grants us insight into him as a character. Born through sorcery, Panda houses three cores within himself—“siblings” who lend him power and the ability to alter his form—unlike the singular core found within other cursed corpses (that being the blanket term for all beings constructed through sorcery). Panda is also unique in that he has emotions and the ability to to act on them, such as when he shielded Kugisaki from Mechamaru’s attack and also got sad when Mechamaru likened him to a …

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 …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …