Zim and Gir will always be close to my heart. This Nickelodeon cartoon was creepy if not damn right disturbing at times but had a sort of dark manic humor that your average early 2000’s cartoon didn’t have, that was quickly dying with the 90’s. Invader Zim is the story of Zim, a disgraced alien conqueror sent to Earth on a bogus mission with his lovable but defective servant droid Gir as they try desperately to conquer our world undetected. But Dib suspects Zim’s secret, a young man in Zim’s class obsessed with aliens and government conspiracies who wants to go down in history for dissecting Zim….This show pushed a lot of boundaries with it’s more mature themes like Zim stealing organs because he’s afraid the school nurse will discover he ain’t human, that always stuck with me. I don’t recommend this to the easily creeped or weirded out but for that insane weird kid at heart, definitely worth watching on Hulu.
So in the fabled year of 2014 when life was Ok and I was almost another person in almost another life, a close friend and original battlebuddy SniperElitest gave me an amazing B-day gift: the complete Death Note anime collection and after that I got hooked into anime. Many people who stereotype anime as violent cartoons full of flashing lights and tall haired buff people that fight and kill each other need to watch this particular anime. Duke, thought Dragonball Z was drawn out and boring so thinking outside the box I introduced him to Death note and he fell in love with anime too. Death Note is the story of bored genius teen Light Yagumi who one day comes across a mysterious notebook called “Death Note” that falls from the sky. He takes it home with him and reads the rules inscribed in it: the first being that anyone’s name whose written in the Death Note will die as long as the owner can picture the victim’s face in there mind. Light is visited by a strange creature, a Shinigami- a death god named Ryuk who sheds light on the situation and helps explain the power of the note, urging Light to try it. Light discovers it’s power are true, watching a robber die just how he wrote it. Light decides to use the Death Note to rid the world of it’s evil people, acting as the “god of the new world” under the moniker Kira- or “Killer”. The world becomes enthralled with the phenomenon, murderers, corrupt officials, warlords, terrorists, child molesters and rapists all magically dropping dead or coincidentally succumbing to fatal accidents. Light’s father is in charge of the task force in charge of hunting down Kira, but on there own they are no match for his intellect. Until L comes along, a odd famous investigator that reaches out to the police to help them catch Kira. From the start, L proves to be a match for Kira’s intelligence, suspecting Light is Kira from the get go. He keeps tabs on Light, watching every move he makes but Light manages to prevail. But a disturbing revalation comes to both L and Light when a second Kira emerges with another note of there own. Enter Misa-misa, a air headed model and pop culture sensation obsessed with Kira who falls madly in love with Light. Ryuk tells Light of a special “deal” the owner of a Death Note and a shinigami can make- in exchange for half the owner’s life span, the owner can borrow there sight and suddenly see the full names of anyone he sees. Misa made the deal with hers. Light charms her into being his accomplice while him and L clash wits and minds as the new world unfolds…but who will come out on top?
The anime is great, not one of my favorites but amazing all the same. It drags and being 37 episodes that says something but it’s full of complex thoughts between the main characters so I can understand. The music is catchy as hell; the animation is gorgeous. Definitely watch it…
So the Americanized Netflix movie? Eh…I hated it. It took the basic premise of Death Note, took out most of the twists and turns and gave us a emo teen romance story. Light Yagumi went from a character starting out as someone with good intentions that becomes a relentless murderer with a god complex who will do ANYTHING to reach his goal. In fact, when he freaks out over the very idea of killing his dad killed the movie for me; in the anime, when push came to shove he did and didn’t have one shred of remorse for it. Mia (formerly sweet, idiot Misa-misa) was more of what Light was supposed to be like. Another huge problem I had was that Ryuk was clearly the villain and actively tried to screw Light where the anime made Ryuk a grim spectator, unable to interfere with the note. The score is replaced by music that reminds me of a more emo John Carpenter knock off. Willem Dafoe is by far the best part of this thing as the voice of Ryuk and the dude who plays L is ok; there’s some decent Final destination style kills but that’s about the best it’s got to offer for me. Don’t watch this if you saw the anime first, you will get pissed.
I got giddy as hell just prepping this review; so many memories! Cowboy Bebop is a fascinating specimen of anime. One part space odyssey, one part soap opera noir, some ass kicking fights, all wrapped in stunning animation and a soulful blend of jazz and the blues creating a story of four bounty hunters and a dog going through space trying to make it rich and avoid old pasts. Our main characters (from left to right on the poster above) are Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, Jet Black, and Ed (and I can’t forget Ein, the dog.) Each is a deeply rich character that leaves an impression. Spike is a lazy, good hearted fighter escaping his past with a deadly gang; Faye is a woman who had been Cryo frozen, broken hearted, and now breaks hearts for money; Jet is a tough ex cop with a synthetic arm and head of the ship; and Ed is a super smart, super quirky 11 year old hacker with no past we know of but her love of Ein.
Right from the get go with the opening theme titled Tank! you immediately feel pumped up and ready to go. No matter how bummed out I am, just hearing that classic opening spreads a smile on my face and a second wind in my soul. The show isn’t very long, about 26 episodes, but it fits right. Every episode gives you a little something different, though overall there is a beautiful sense of melancholy artists rarely capture without making it too depressing. The action is cool and more plausible than most other anime; in fact, although a Japanese anime, Cowboy Bebop feels very American, like a livelier Blade Runner with jazz music. If anime has ever seemed too over the top or too weird for you, I suggest Cowboy Bebop for an fan of drama, anime, or great music. See ya next time cowboy and may the gaming gods be with you.
Let me preface this by saying, I was not a fan of the games, they weren’t bad or anything like that, they just were not my scene so to speak. So when i heard the first season of the Netflix serious was out I was very meh about the whole thing. That being said i felt I owed it to my readers ( hey guys how are you) to sit down and watch the first episode of season 1 so I could properly say, meh. The season consist of 4 episodes between 20-25 minutes long and i have to say they went quick. This was not what i was expecting at all, and I am happy to say this was amazingly done. From the opening minutes of the show i was hooked, the art style is fantastic, the sounds are well done and range from creepy to magical and all at the right times. The story itself has some nice nods to the games themselves leaving plenty of room to either do their stories or simply do its own thing.
This is definitely however, adult oriented. Some very graphic death scenes and strong language throughout and even a bar mans story about how he a hit man with a shovel for having sex with his goat, this is not a story for children. That being said I actually feel for good old Dracula, while admittedly he may be taking things to far I understand why he does what he is doing which only makes his evil actions seem all the more evil.
When all is said and done, if you like the Castlevania series, vampire stories or just anime in general you owe it to yourself to watch this show that has already been picked up for an 8 episode season 2. Thanks for joining me and may the gaming gods bring you glory.
Since I covered what I felt to be the most overrated Star Wars entry to date, I thought it would only be fitting to cover the most underrated piece of the series that sadly isn’t canon anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I hold no ill will towards the canon series; I enjoy that a lot too. But the first series came to me at a time when I was beginning to discover anime. The animation style feels very reminiscent of Samurai Jack, and though only 25 episodes, most of which are only 5 minutes long, they’ve stuck with me more 12 years after the fact with there unique blend of quick storytelling and anime influences.
This series directly bridges the gap between Attack of the clones and Revenge of the Sith. The Clone Wars are in full swing. Count Dooku arranges an unusual bounty hunter to assassinate Obi-Wan. But while in seclusion, a young woman finds him and slays the beasts Dooku sends against her with ease because she is strong with the force. Wielding two lightsabers, one blue and the other green, she drops the final beast and utters the words “I am sith.” Dooku sends the woman, Aasj Ventress to assassinate Anakin SkyWalker with her new red sabers. In space she finds him, strands him alone on a swampy world, murdering his troops one by one until he’s alone. They duel, pushing Anakin over the edge, making him strike her down with the power of the dark side. The image of Anakin standing on a cliff while Ventress falls, screaming with the glowing red blade in his mechanical hand against a red sky is very powerful. Soon after, a new figure in the Confederacy emerges, the fearsome droid commander General Grievous. When first debuted, Grievous was a beast with a agile, strong body and a dangerously strange means of using Lightsabers in combat. The finale of the series leads into the opening scene of Sith. The whole series can be found on Youtube; if you want a more condensed, less child-friendly take on the Clone Wars that has more of a anime feel, I highly recommend it. May the force be with you and the gaming gods bring you glory.