Roasting in 3 2 1

Norsemen – only on Netflix

Maybe it’s someone else’s cup of tea, but it certainly wasn’t mine. I got through 1 and a half episodes before I had to quit. Like it was bad enough I was considering putting out my eyes like that one slave guy in episode 2.

The whole whopping pile of problems started with the writing. They had crowd scenes that felt empty because the other actors weren’t given any direction in what they should have been “talking” about. They were drinking, but it visually didn’t look like they were having any kind of party where people were drunk or getting drunk. No one was laughing too loud. No one was collapsing off their bench and getting laughed at. I could FEEL how confined the filming space was and could tell when they were deliberately framing shots to avoid showing anything from the modern time period.

The dialogue itself was very stilted. There were awkwardly long pauses between characters speaking, leaving space for any joke there might have been there to fall on the ground and die, gasping in the void. It felt like they were improvising their lines, but weren’t very good at it and didn’t have any grasp on who or what their characters were supposed to be. The only one who was tolerable was that one slave guy with the short beard, though even he couldn’t decide if his character was mentally deficient or incredibly savvy about surviving being a slave.

The times I did catch on that there was supposed to be a joke, it only consisted of “Look at these godless barbarians! They have tiny pricks and limp dicks! Worse, they can’t keep their wives in line!” PRAISE ODIN when their accents weren’t slipping.

When they weren’t making fun of the lack of sexual prowess of the men, the physical comedy setups were telegraphed so blatantly I saw it coming a mile away – like that slave that got his eyes shot out in episode 2. Additionally, they took too long pulling it off – like when the arrows were pulled out of that guy’s face in episode 2. Too long. Not funny. It should only take a few seconds for the audience to see the trap before it is sprung on the victim. Not five minutes later after an extended monologue about the common use of eyes listing all the common words and phrases in the English dictionary.

On the plus side, the costumes were really well done. However, I’d count that as a negative too. I really wanted to take the show seriously since they’d put so much effort into the costumes. That was the only thing they put effort into, though. They only knew one supposedly Norse word that they shouted all the time unless they were sprinkling “Odin” or “Loki” into their lines liberally. There WERE other Norse gods, yknow, and I don’t think anyone praised Loki with joy upon seeing their father back from Viking. The buildings were wrong as well. How hard is it to stack sod and put a roof on it for a show, guys? You just needed 2 walls to get the illusion. Instead they went all out with wood planking on the outside and just kinda… made stuff up as they went.

I would have more to say on how terrible this show was if I’d watched more, but I’m not a masochist. I’m just … disappointed. It had potential but their writers need to be fired. … at the stake. How I think it could be improved? Embrace that you don’t know much about Norse culture and have someone discuss whether chickens are anachronistically accurate. Have someone using a prop sword to scratch their ass. Throw in someone standing in the background holding a Starbucks looking lost as last year’s Easter egg. Have an extra accidentally walk into the boom mic or trip over a prop. Take a page or two from Monty Python.

But DO cut out some of those awkwardly long pauses between lines. Those didn’t work at all.


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Yet Another Ringing Endorsement

Today I’m going to briefly talk about a show my sister exposed me to. It’s a departure from my normal reviews in that not only is it live action, but it’s American.
Take JD from SCRUBS, put him with the “Parks and Recreation” characters, and change the setting to a police unit in NY.
I give you…
Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
This show is not a serious police drama. While they tackle some issues, such as discrimination (against blacks, against gays, against women), they do it tastefully and with a bite of humor. My ringing endorsement for this show is that I had a massive headache and was vomiting all day and still thought it was funny.
The pilot started out strong with a battle of wills between Jake (detective) and his new captain Hurst over whether Jake would or would not wear a tie. This results with Jake getting assigned to do paperwork in the basement, but that does not end his rebellion. When Hurst comes to check on him, Jake is sitting at a desk in shirt and tie, believing he got the last laugh as he stands to reveal his very brightly colored speedo. Hurst retaliates by calling the rest of the troop in to view this beauty and Jake is given the applause that stunt deserves. All this results in a heart-warming moment at the end where they all work together to catch a criminal and Jake realizes that the tie is a uniform and meant to make them all feel like they’re on the same team.
Despite being rebellious, Jake isn’t stupid; he does his job well. In fact, there aren’t any actually stupid characters in the show. Just… a couple of all-around horrors, one of which can’t keep his shirt on and that’s not a torso you want to see for any length of time (they may not be good at solving crime but they make great coffee). Even the group’s “butt of the joke” character is respected as Jake’s best friend. Altogether, weird as they are, these characters are a team and that’s nice to see instead of the constant “single one out of the herd to pick on” mentality.
Oddly enough, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on its third season and Fox hasn’t canceled it yet. Either they don’t know that it’s good, or they’re just waiting for an opportune moment. A friend of mine postulated that perhaps it was cheap to make, but I’m not sold on that theory. There’re a lot of extras, a very large and ethnically diverse cast, bunch of setting changes, and even some stunts. The main character’s face gets abused a lot and not for the usual sexist reasons (he has a smart mouth, but his wounds are usually self inflicted; i.e. falling out of the ceiling and smashing face first on a desk…).
In any case, you can catch up with it on Hulu.
7 of 10 stars.

Mekakucity Actors

two words: Mind. Screw.

Like marathon watching Evangelion, Madoka, and Kill la Kill in one session with episodes mixed together into an almost incomprehensible slush. (at least until the end and then it all begins to make sense at last).

The character designs look like Vocaloids, and for that reason I wasn’t going to give it a try until I saw someone post some gifs. Turns out there’s a reason they look like Vocaloids: it’s based off a series of Vocaloid songs and directed by the guy who directed Madoka.

It’s about a monster who fell in love with a human and had a family but then made a wish to create a world where time stopped so she could be with her family forever. That goes horribly wrong because of reasons. Wouldn’t have much of a story if things went right all the time, after all. But 9 kids in a futuristic city have strange powers based on eyesight that they get after they have a close call with death and it turns out to be an endless loop because of wishes and an evil snake.

So there it is. Now go watch it.

10 of 5 stars.

Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World Review

Just finished watching Alexa play Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World.

Ohkay. I’m aware of other people’s problems with the game, and I’ll briefly touch on them now before I go into why this game was actually fantastic.

1. The voice acting. The company wasn’t able to get the original voice actors back to reprise their roles in the returning cast from the first game for some reason that wasn’t stated. This isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to seem. They found people whose voices were similar enough that I didn’t even realize at first. Anime and game dubs are getting big, and some of the actors they used for the original game are pretty popular and might have had other obligations at the time that prevented them from working on Dawn of the New World. Getting mad about this and hating the game because of it is petty.

2. The returning characters. I’ll admit that this is a point that I was slightly “meh” about. I got the impression that the people who originally wrote the script for the first game were not involved in writing the script this time. One of the things I loved about the first game was the chemistry between the characters. Lloyd was about as sharp as a river rock in game-one and this was one of his defining features. However in Dawn of the New World, he was dramatically different. In-game it is stated that two years have passed, so I can admit that not just the journey of game one but the passage of two years can change a person. But I doubt Lloyd found some magical spring that gifted him with intelligence. Though, on third thought, if I squint, it could perhaps have been maturity, since he did say some dumb things on occasion. Overall, I’ll have to agree with the naysayers that the writing of the returning cast could have been better and they seemed more like fanfiction-versions of themselves than anything. I’d like to add that I happen to LIKE fanfiction from time to time, so I was willing to overlook that since everything else going on was interesting. Perhaps the game could have benefited from just having an entirely new cast, rather than bringing in everyone from the first game.

3. Emil was whiny. I whole-heartedly disagree with this point. Luke Fon Fabre was whiny (and don’t get me wrong, I love him too). Emil was shy and inexperienced and a darling little puppy that I adored throughout the game.

Spoilers ahead.

Further on the point of Emil, his character was another perfect example of Namco’s constant breaking of stereotypes when it comes to their main characters. From the initial view of his meek personality to his “Ratatosk Mode” (which Alexa and I named “Ember” and I will continue to refer to as Ember since he is neither Ratatosk nor Emil) the character was dynamic and his personality progressed logically as more information became available about his past. For people to decide the game is terrible based on the switching between Emil and Ember tells me that those people weren’t paying attention and didn’t understand that the two were technically two different people, even separate from Ratatosk himself. My basis for this is that Ratatosk was originally a summon who became disillusioned with mortals and wanted them all dead. When Marta revived the core, Ratatosk caused his own mutation from Ratatosk into something – someone different by first taking a human form, and then sealing away his personality and memories to hide behind the identity of Emil.  Emil, over the course of six months in Luin became his own person, forming relationships (albeit bad) with the other people of town and his “family” which is, in my opinion, what caused him to be so spineless at the beginning of the game. If all you know is abuse, would you really be capable of standing up for yourself? Or would you blame yourself like everyone else does?

Perhaps players were uncomfortable with Emil as a protagonist because he reminded them too much of themselves. Not personally knowing everyone else who has played the game, that is my only hypothesis for the rampant hatred of him.

In any case, Emil’s behavior at the start of the game, to me, is completely understandable; from his lack of ambition to his hiding behind Ember whenever he’s in trouble. I found him to be endearing because of this, since he quickly began to grow out of that automatic apology-defense almost as soon as Richter snapped at him for it, whereas Colette never did, and that was one of my few gripes about her character.

I haven’t seen as much of it, but I got the impression that people don’t like Marta either, whether it’s because of her personality or because she’s in the way of the Yaoi Emil/Richter or some underlying sexist thought processes, I don’t really know. However, I thought Marta was pretty brilliantly written. She was a strong female character but, again, Namco didn’t take the shortcut of making her Amazon Warrior Princess as a way to prove that she was strong. She got scared, she fell in love, she did dumb things, but behind it all was a sense of justice and principles and determination that made her certain that she knew right from wrong. I’m not sure of her actual age in-game, but I’m guessing somewhere around 13 or 14, which explains her dependence on her father. I could never imagine looking at my father and thinking “I can’t stand what you’ve become and I have to do something about it.” I personally don’t know if I’d have the strength to.

Brute was not the crazy power hungry jerk we saw for 90% of the game, as was evidenced by his complete reversal after Solum’s core was recovered. This is proof that he helped raise Marta to be the woman she currently is, with her determination and drive to see that things be put right. Thus, Marta’s insistence that she try to save him rather than outright kill him is understandable. He wasn’t an evil person, he was just being influenced and she knew that. At the same time, she wasn’t overlooking the things he had done, even if he hadn’t done them while in his right mind. She wasn’t blinded by love and who she thought her father was. Even if she fell into that trap when it came to Emil, which I believe was a good thing for him, since it forced him to stand up for himself against her and look at his own weaknesses in order to decide what he did or didn’t like about himself and what he had the power to change.

This game wasn’t simply amazing because of the main characters, however. It was amazing because, once again, Namco delivered a story that walked in the grey areas between good and evil. Richter and Aster invaded Ratatosk’s realm and provoked him. Richter wasn’t inherently evil and had a plan of how to get what he wanted as well as save the world once he was done, which involved sacrificing himself to burn for eternity. Brute was corrupted by Richter. Ratatosk was simply out of touch with the goings on of the world and needed to get out and see the sky and get some fresh air – and make a few friends – in order to fix his bad mood. None of these antagonists (except for maybe Alice) are absolutely evil and unforgivable, they’re presented as people with goals and reasons for what they’re doing and saving them didn’t require some pretzel logic that got them out of everything. Alice got herself dead, Brute went to prison, Richter burned for 1000 years. Most of all, the story presented good, compelling reasons for why the antagonists chose to do what they were doing. Looked at from the other direction, the tactics the main characters used weren’t that spotless either.

I thought it was a good continuation of the world. The focus on Emil and Marta’s journey while the main characters of the first game are left to their own devices for the most part was a good choice. I say this because this lets players decide what happened in the intervening two years between this and last game, as well as not forcing the game-maker’s choice of pairings on the player when it comes to Lloyd/???.

While some choices of what they had people doing were a little odd and frustrating, over all, I believe it made for a good game.

Tales of Symphonia Review

My roommate and I just recently finished playing Tales of Symphonia. There were some flaws to the game, but overall, it was an enjoyable experience. We’re chalking the flaws up to the fact that it’s a 10 yr old game and maybe they didn’t know what they were doing a bit? Or possibly there were some errors in porting it over from the Gamecube to PS3. In any case, the remaster was pretty. Though I’d like to let everyone know that I most definitely played this game last, even though it was one of the first, and thus I am comparing it to the other, more recent, games I’ve played.

At the beginning of the game I could not figure out what was going on.  I think this was in part because the game just started out without explaining anything about the world. However, I think this was a good choice on their part, as this made the plot twists better. Without the extremely original world, I would have been bored by the cliche plot bits. Not that the entire plot was cliche, just some major parts of it due to trope trends and and because I’d played other Tales Of* games and could see the things that they liked to reuse. One being the “Traitor” type. But they handled it much better in this game than in Xillia. I could forgive him after he did his thing in Symphonia, but in Xillia, the Traitor repeatedly did awful, and sometimes painful, things to the party and they still let him back in and trusted him again. That bothered me a lot. However, I’m not reviewing Xillia at the moment.

Another thing they reuse is spells, battle techniques, and the like. I wish they had reused free movement in battle, rather than only allowing straight-line movement. It would have been nice if they had updated that in this port over. Also titles, though here they actually raise stats as opposed to being merely decorative in later games. This, I think is fine, Final Fantasy reuses spells and if something works, don’t fix it, especially in a series like this. These days its difficult to find things that haven’t already been done before and the use of tropes sometimes helps an audience get past stuff that would otherwise be confusing, such as the role of Elves, half-elves, and humans in this world. Though they never explained where dwarves came from, which I think is a slight oversight on the part of the writers.

While I’m on the fence about whether it was good or bad, I think the character personalities were weighted a little heavily on the Derp side. Colette, Lloyd, Zelos, and Sheena were morons about 70% of the time, even though occasionally Lloyd would pull something brilliant out of the mists of that empty head of his. I didn’t really have any favorites exactly, I did like the way certain personalities complemented each other. Although certain costumes bothered me immensely, mostly Regal’s prison uniform, but that’s just nitpicking on my part. They worked together well as a party that got things done, whereas in other games, I’ve seen the party pulling apart at the seams, held together by the fact that the writers said they had to do the thing. So that gets an A+ from me. It’s hard to enjoy a game where the constant bickering and cross-purposes of the main cast are difficult to get past, like they have a common enemy but they’re still doing their own thing.

I’ll only touch on this briefly, though it is one of the most noticeable flaws of the game; the voice acting was good, I enjoyed their performances, but the actual recording of the voices could have been improved upon. Recording or mixing, something is off because some voices sound like the actors phoned in their lines.

Some of the things the game did right, however was breaking stereotype gender roles, which I’ve noticed as being a thing in many Tales Of* games, however. Raine was the brains and Regal sometimes made comments about how awesome women were, which was nice to see despite Zelos being a sleaze and Sheena being the representative of Enormous Rackville. The thing is, Zelos’s attitude wasn’t reciprocated or agreed with by all the females of the party and Sheena was never appreciative of Zelos pointing out her ample attributes (though they’re small compared to girls in anime these days, but again, this was 10 years ago). Prescea was one of the heavy hitters with an axe, and I think that was cool. Genis and Raine were our spell casters, though, which made some sense, even if they made Raine the healer, which is typical, but forgivable.

The main hero wasn’t what I was expecting, but that’s been every Tales Of* game I’ve played. In this particular case, Lloyd was as big an idiot as they got, even though he was using the typical Main Character weapon of dual swords and starting Arte of Demon Fang.

Some of the cliche things that I picked up on from the start of the game were that the Regeneration of the World was not as great and happy a journey as it was implied it would be at the start. Of course, would there be a quest if the World Regeneration was awesome and stuff? But beyond that, it seems like everyone is corrupting Angels into evil creatures, and the “Luke I am your father” bit with Lloyd I saw coming only a couple hours into the game. Although it wasn’t a bad thing and a couple of the twists _did_ surprise me, such as the relationship between the Angels, Renegades, Desians, and church as well as the construction of the world itself. The relationships of the party members, their interactions, and the romance/bromance options were highly enjoyable as well.

Overall, I give this game a 5/5 stars rating. While it’s an old one, it’s held up pretty well and thus if you haven’t had a chance to play it, I highly suggest trying it out.

New and Old

ee891011d4f27b2c7aea8ec45c5042121373185343_fullMakai Ouji: Devils and Realist = It’s AWESOME. :D It’s about a boy who is apparently the reborn soul of Solomon who has the power to choose who the interim ruler of Hell will be while Lucifer is asleep. And its full of so much pretty.

Originally I’d skipped over it, until Alexa noticed that the main character looked like Wolfram from Kyo Kara Maoh, so Alexa and I were like “lol. let’s try it.” I could totally see Devils and Realist being in the same universe as Kyo Kara Maoh, too. It’s got that vibe to it, or something. The premise is that William Twining, a young British scholar from a rich family, who is looking to become a politician and attending a boarding school, has accidentally gotten mixed up in the affairs of Hell because he is something called the “Elector”. Apparently Lucifer is asleep, so someone has to run Hell in the meantime and for some reason, William Twining has the capability to pick this interim ruler of Hell. He’s got plenty of demons to choose from (and all of them are hot). The first demon he meets by accident, is in the basement of his house when he spills blood on a magic circle and summons Dantalion, a demon that was once a human. William meets or acquires at least one new friend every episode, collecting demons in his boarding school that are nothing but trouble for him, since he has to keep them secret and out of mischief.

Anyway, so as to not spoil, I will be brief and end here. 4 of 5 stars!


11Eyes = This anime was surprisingly stealthy. I didn’t realize it was based off an H-game until more than halfway through it. Not that it was blatant about it, but it did influence a few things that otherwise wouldn’t have gone quite that direction… But the scene I’m talking about is where he unlocks his magical powers and then has to have that healing scene where, for some reason, he has to be naked and then the sword chick also takes off her clothes? I think the hentai part of the anime ruined the plot. It was stuck in randomly and always very awkward. The premise is that they’re all pieces of some kind of crystal soul thing that was used to trap this witch and they get pulled into an alternate world they call “Red Night” in order to fight these black knight people who are trying to just kill them. And the kids later find out that the black knights are actually the good guys in the situation. I’d already guessed that about two episodes previous to that coming to light, unfortunately. Though it wasn’t because of bad writing, it was because of predictable plots in anime/movies these days.

I give it 3 of 5.



Ixion Saga DT = When an enemy henchman said “fullmetal ballchemist” I knew… this was a train wreck after my own heart. Premise: Teenage boy is transported to a fantasy world while playing a video game. Equipment he brought with him: pants, shirt, socks, headphones, computer chair… no shoes. The ending theme song is a song about being manly and repeated refrain of “ED” (as in Erectile Dysfunction) and that also happens to be the name of the Primary Badguy. ED. Erecpyle Dukakis… Main character boy is Kon, who is spiteful, shallow, stupid, and virgin, breaks poor Erec-sama’s balls in the first five episodes and from there, it’s much punning about him being emasculated and trying to find a way to heal. I kind of feel bad for Erec-sama, but at the same time, its funny. It’s a nice departure from the themes I’ve been seeing lately which are along the lines of “High school student *SomethingJapanese* recently transferred into *School* when his life turned upside down after he met a mysterious woman.” Instead it’s “Derpface Kon is transported to an alternate world and the plot makes fun of dudes a lot.” Anyway, he’s on a quest to get home, and incidentally escorting an 8 year old princess to another major city so she can get married.

3 of 5 stars because the anime does annoy me a little because it’s so painfully painful to watch.



Accel World = This was an unexpected find. Alexa and I were on Viz Anime’s website looking for something else when I accidentally clicked this anime. The  main character is this little fat kid, (voiced by the guy who did Erin Jeager, like seriously, I swear we’re not stalking him but he’s been in every anime we’ve watched lately) is apparently really into VR games. The funny thing is that Alexa looked at the collars the kids were wearing and said “It’s the future of Sword Art Online! And I was like, yes… it is, because they do progress to collars, so I have been told. I’ve not managed to read the rest of the light novels. Anyway. Fat boy is into VR games and gets invited to join this game called Brain Burst that can accelerate a person’s mental capabilities to the point of making a second feel like minutes. Half an hour can be an entire month. It’s a very cool concept and I like how the anime is exploring all the ways this game and the abilities it gives a player in the real world can be exploited. Also the avatars in the battle world are built by the person’s subconscious based on their emotional scars; meaning that if you’re afraid of being hurt physically, you will end up with thick armor.
I give it 4 of 5 stars – because I don’t give 5 of 5 unless I’m rolling around on the floor crying because its so awesome, but this anime got pretty close to that.


Edit: Episode 20 of Accel World confirmed that it IS in fact in the same universe as Sword Art Online. :D

Things I’ve been doing lately

Hiiro-no-Kakera-1Hiiro No Kakera = so generic I felt I could dub it with any dialogue from any other anime about magical ancient princess blood and magical artifacts etc and no one would know the difference. It didn’t help that the ONE person who had any clue what was going on wouldn’t talk to the main character girl other than to say “You’ll be inheriting this shortly.” You’d think some kind of training would be in order if things are so critical that they had to summon her by manipulating her life so she had to go there and transfer out of the school she was attending. In fact, the Japanese voice acting is so lackluster that it’s pretty obvious that the characters themselves don’t want to be there. They talked an awful lot about how it was their “duty” to guard some bimbo they didn’t even know with their lives. etc. etc. They sure didn’t sound happy about it. And then other things. Like “She opened a lock that responds only to her bloodline in the first place!” why is this a surprise? It shouldn’t be.

2 of 5 stars


amnesia-full-858913Amnesia = harem dating sim where girl jumps dimensions every time she dies and can’t remember anything that happened before the first time she dimension hopped. The outfits were awesome, the concept was awesome, but the Heroine was lacking a personality and the guys were all like serious nut job rapists. Except the guy with glasses. He didn’t know how to emotions, so she had to actually put out some effort. As a result, he was the most likeable. I felt sorry for the green haired guy. The ginger I liked, up until he drugged her to keep her asleep and stuck her in a dog cage for days. The pretty boy player was the other one I liked, but his fangirls were a serious crazy bunch. What bothered me further – in my weird “I notice the stupid stuff” type of way – is that they were wearing these costumes everywhere. I mean, who really honestly wears red and black leggings to work when it’s not part of the job? And I’m talking about HIM, not her. The outfit pictured is her every day clothes. Everyone else – yeah, that’s how they dressed every day.

3 of 5 stars


600px-Ginga_Kikoutai_Majestic_Prince_-_TrailerMajestic Prince = Another show that’s so generic you can replace the dialogue and never notice. It was yet another teenage mecha pilots anime. The concept was interesting – they were genetically modified to survive in space – but actual execution could have been much better. And they’re wearing f’in space onesies… I mean, if they’re gonna be total derps at least give me something pretty to look at. It also made me kind of mad that BOTH girls were incredibly stupid, and the boy who actually has a real dream and some kind of drive is ridiculed for it. Even though he’s the group’s leader. I alternately felt sorry for them and enraged by them. And that was just in the first 2 episodes. I couldn’t handle it any longer and looked for something else.

3 of 5 stars


attack-on-titan-RECAPSAttack on Titan = Have I mentioned lately how fraked up this one is?  Giant humanoid creatures attack towns and eat people for no other reason than because they want to. And its amazing. My only complaint is that in the first 13 episodes, the recaps of the previous episode get longer and longer until one episode is nothing BUT recap! It resets on the next episode at least, since there’s nothing else to recap after that. Unless they want to recap a recap episode. On the plus side, this is the ONLY anime that has ever given me nightmares. Also, the 3D movement gear is pretty awesome. If there’s not an Attack on Titan game already, there needs to be one and it needs to be released in the US because I have money and I want to spend it on such a thing.

4 of 5 stars


fbcec0dd615ee7797fb6992422c903441365440334_fullLegend of Arata = From the maker of Fushigi Yuugi comes Legend of Arata – the gender switched Miaka of the new generation! Sarcasm aside, I actually kind of liked this one but at the same time, I am frustrated by the main character’s spinelessness. I understand that’s kind of the point of the show. He’s supposed to learn how to stand up for himself. Also, they’ve got all these pretty people in the opening and eye catches, but most of them are only there for a few episodes, then they sacrifice themselves for the main character and they’re gone for good. What a waste. Also, it ends on a cliff hanger with no second season in sight. Though its new this year, so maybe it’ll pick back up in the fall.

3 of 5 stars