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Media Consumption Month #2 (September 2018)

Welcome to the second month of my media consumption diary, were I briefly vent about all the media I’ve consumed in the previous month including, films, video games, tv shows, anime and manga. Look for a heading you’re interested in and have fun…

Attack on Titan Season 3:

Attack on Titan Season 3 has continued with its break-neck speed and has already concluded adapting the Uprising Arc, in only 10 episodes. Overall, it was all fine and dandy, nothing made me mad and the Kenny backstory episode, which is the highlight of the arc, was handled appropriately. I’m entirely satisfied by this adaptation and even further impressed with its continued coordination with the manga (See my article of chapter 109 of Attack on Titan for further details on that aspect). Since I am a manga reader there isn’t much for me to speculate about, but I am interested to see how they stretch the following arc across 15 episodes when I think the material is only enough for 8-10 more episodes. We will have to play patient fellas with Attack on Titan Season 3 and you’ll have to wait until next month for an update.

 

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My Hero Academia Season 3:

My Hero Academia Season 3 has concluded, Season 4 is already confirmed, in case anyone somehow was still questioning that fact. Last time I made one of these I wasn’t too high on the boring exam we were in the middle of, but I can proudly state that by the end of the season the show had entirely won me back, largely because of Episode 24. This episode hit every quota for my personal enjoyment of My Hero Academia. It was nearly entirely focus on the villains and character interactions, my two standout wants from My Hero. The opening segment that focused on a mysterious, yet interestingly introspective man was truly entertaining and when later he was revealed to be Twice, gave that character some much needed depth. It engaged me with a forgettable comic relief character and reintroduced him as a tragic introspective villain. The plot further grew in that episode with the introduction of Overhaul, a new villain with a signature look. Now I’m unfamiliar with the manga for My Hero but I have seen these ‘Peak boys’ around the internet and I like their aesthetic, so I’m interested to see his role in things moving forward. However, I’m currently internally debating if I should wait for Season 4 or just go ahead and read the source material.

 

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Steins; Gate 0:

I saw someone literally decapitated in Steins; Gate 0, and asked myself, ‘what the fuck is going on?’ The narrative surrounding Steins; Gate 0 remains unchanged, I believe this is a show unsuitable for weekly consumption and binge watching it is the only way to properly understand the series. But I’ll continue to watch as it is Dubbed weekly and then once it is all realised I’ll re-watch it all from the beginning and revaluate my opinions. In the meantime, I would like to further empathise my hatred for Kaguri and uneasy feeling about a superhero decapitating someone in a Steins; Gate related show, it was quite disconnecting from the usually grounded nature of the series.

 

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Vinland Saga:

Vinland Saga continues to impress and has maintained my interest through a drastic genre change. There are no more battles in Vinland Saga, if you came into this series excepting an action series, you haven’t been paying attention and its likely this series will lose you at this point. It seems like the message of Vinland Saga is absolute pacifism. Vinland Saga is seemingly about Thorfinn learning what it means to be a true warrior, meaning laying down you weapons.  This is thematically presented to him by his father and by Askeladd in his recent dream/nightmare adventures, that he’s be having every night but not remembering. It is exposited to him that it’s never ok to strike another human being, by his father and Askeladd presents the horrors of Valhalla to Thorfinn and how he’s managing to escape this hell through his recent lack of murder.

 

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To explain to those uninitiated for the first 50 chapters Vinland Saga is a clearly Berserk inspired manga about the horrific nature of medieval society and war. A scene that cannot stop thinking about, that incapsulates the tonal dark nature of these initial 50 chapters is where the band of Vikings Askeladd leads, and Thorfinn is a part of, is staying in a small village and are running roughshod over the area. And in this commotion, there is a moment of reflection from the typically empathy-less Thorfinn for a young girl who is tied up with her clothes ripped off, clearly about to be raped by his Viking comrades. Now it is important to point out that Thorfinn is only comrades with these people out of hatred and the Askeladd despises all of them, so they aren’t horrible people for surrounding themselves with the people in this situation, they both secretly hate them all. But the effectiveness of this scene is in the implication of what’s happening, and the desperation mixed with acceptance in the girl’s eyes. It’s a hauntingly effective scene that demonstrates the brutality of the world of Vinland Saga and now, the series has become about humble farmers, and SOMEHOW it works incredibly. We have collectively transformed the tone from that to a farming show about the horrors and struggle of slavery and directionless life. I stopped after finishing chapter 72 and can’t wait to see how the story further progresses with the new cool characters like Snake, Einar, Arneis and the old master of the farm. Vinland Saga is great!

 

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Devilman:

My continuation with Devilman has been significantly affected by Vinland Saga, whenever I decide to spend time reading a manga I’ve always opted to read Vinland Saga. I’m still extremely early in the Devilman manga, Akira is still yet to become Devilman. The set-up of the series is much more expositional in the manga, Rio is just dumping plot details on the audience and Akira. In Crybaby I remember just being thrust into a night club, sex party and then suddenly we had ourselves a spooky Devilman. I don’t know which alternative method is better but there’s got to be a happy medium that limits the lazy exposition but doesn’t assault the reader with imagery. I hope to further understand Devilman by the time I return to you next month.

 

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Cowboy Bebop:

I’m still slowly forcing my way through Cowboy Bebop, and it’s your fault… I don’t what to continue, I’m over this episodic boring nonsense, but I have to be able to say I’ve watched it to appease you people. I’m watched up to episode 15, and I still don’t care about these characters, Spike is still uninteresting, and I maintain that his backstory and everything in reference to Vicious should have been left in Episode 5, the only good episode of this series so far. Faye is still the hottest anime bitch I’ve ever seen, but I don’t care about her, Jet is the same and Edward is funny. Episodic shows just remind me that I’m wasting my time watching and I don’t like to have my wastefulness reaffirmed by the media I’m consuming. Tune in next month to see if I have turned around on Cowboy Bebop and maybe had a revelation about this series’ supposed brilliance.

 

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Serial Experiment Lain:

I have a very weird way of consuming new media that makes it impossible for me to form an intelligent opinion on anything during my first viewing. I subconsciously must have known it for a while but now I’m consciously aware of my deficiency. It takes something incredibly straightforward for me to evaluate everything on a first viewing and Serial Experiments Lain is definitively not a straightforward show. So, as I was slowly digesting this show, sort of disinterested, I knew that it would immediately become one of my favourite shows after I’d finished it and reflected on it slightly. I don’t know what it is about me that hates nearly everything on the first time; I’m constantly looking around, not paying attention and secretly hating myself because it feels like I’m stationary in a seat wasting my time. However, re-watching anything is much easier and way more enjoyable to me. I didn’t like the Godfather until I quickly re-watched it a few days later; I didn’t like Evangelion until I thought about it over the following few days. It must be me understanding what I’m getting into before watching the re-watch that puts me at ease and allows me to enjoy the experience, maybe it’s about understanding.

 

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Serial Experiments Lain as insane as it is awesome and I’m in love with it. The aesthetic is an instant giveaway that this show is outwardly interesting, Lain’s character design is near perfection, she’s incredibly cute and endearing and when her appearance is slightly manipulated, her character design is also near perfect as a malicious psychopath. The opening is already downloaded on my phone, what a fitting song, I love that it mocks the audience (intentionally or unintentionally). The first line just rubs in that the abstractness of this show is flying immediately over your head, “And you don’t seem to understand”. The shows ability to understand what would become popular internet culture is astounding. The wired takes over people’s lives and integrates itself into the real world, just as the internet has become another layer of our contemporary world. The VR headset prediction was also impressive and it’s incredible that the show introduces the idea of ‘memes,’ creates a ‘meme’ within the world of the show in, “Let’s all love Lain,” and then for that to become a widespread ‘meme’ in our reality is some legit metatextual shit. This show is fantastic, already one of my favourites and I’m currently going back through it in the Sub because this is going to take a while to fully understand and comprehend.

 

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RahXephon:

RahXephon is one hell of a fun ride, but I don’t know how much RahXephon itself contributes to my interest level. My interest in this show is somewhat predicated on the fact that it is basically a retelling of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and I love to identify the similarities and differences between the two shows and see how RahXephon decides to alter the story idiosyncratically. So, in that statement am I praising RahXephon or Neon Genesis Evangelion? I don’t know, but I am enjoying my time with this show nonetheless; the imagery is fun the symbols are being set-up and I’m fascinated by the characters. The winey elements that are prevalent in Shinji but weren’t as evident in our main character in RahXephon, have started to become apparent in recent episodes. I left off on Episode 5, they introduced all the soldiers outside of Tokyo Jupiter, a neat homage to Tokyo 3. The Pink haired girl seems interesting, Misato’s counterpart seems interesting and may or may not be hooking up with that girl fighter pilot that was introduced, and the mysterious Rei girl is interesting. I like how our main character and our Rei interact differently in this show, they actually talk and relate to each other for a scene or two, nearly immediately, whereas Rei and Shinji took episodes to come to an understanding and then Rei just got reset and we had to start all over again. RahXephon is at the top of my list for things I’m interested in continuing in the coming month.

 

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Vision of Escaflowne:

Sadly, because of my overbearing focus on Serial Experiments Lain for most of the month, and my last-minute fling with RahXephon, I haven’t followed up with anymore Escaflowne. Interestingly enough, last month I was most interested in continuing Escaflowne, but because of the appealing short length of Lain and its overall density, Escaflowne was sadly left on the back burner. I still have every intention of continuing my journey with this show and will hopefully have more for you next month.

Revolutionary Girl Utena:

Unfortunately, Revolutionary Girl Utena has fallen into similar trappings as Vision of Escaflowne, and I have come to you a month later with no progression. The difference is I’m entirely unmotivated to continue Utena, I will because I always force myself to do things, but that first debacle of a Dubbed Episode 1 fucked me up. I have at least some faith that the show will increase in quality going forward and that the Sub will pick up the slack of that nightmarish Dubbing job I was exposed to.

B Geta H Kei:

The show is among the greatest pieces of art ever created. It’s so endearing and so sweet but it’s all wrapped in a hilarious sexual outer layer. Yamada is the best female character in amine, she’s clearly written by a writers-room of men projecting their fantasy perfect female personality onto the attractive anime girl, but that’s entirely what their target audience wants so it works perfectly. The conceit of the series is fantastic, a girl with the goal of sleeping with 100 high school boys over her high school career, but by the end wasn’t even gone all the way with a single dude but, has instead fallen for one dude. The only negative here is that Cosuda is a boring audience surrogate who could have been much more interesting or dynamic. But the endearing ending is entirely satisfying to the audience even though she has entirely failed on her initial goal, because in the end it wasn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.

 

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But last time I talked about the sensation of ‘forgotten nostalgia’ and how it related to my experience with this show immensely. This was true for the entire re-watch, up until the end I had an overwhelming nostalgic experience that has definitely clouded my judgement when it comes to this series. I would like to delve deeper into this nostalgic overwhelming experience and this show at a later date and leave you with these thoughts for now… It’s fantastic.

Final Fantasy 2: (PS1)

My struggle with Final Fantasy 2 is finally over with. It was a lengthy journey of constant starts and stops but finally I’ve conquered the JRPG behemoth. It took me 29 recorded hours to beat the main story of Final Fantasy 2, (I wouldn’t dare attempt a 100% run) and likely 40+ actual hours, because in this game dying means your kicked back to menu and all your unsaved progress is gone and not recorded in the timer. I took a massive break throughout this playthrough, I’m talking months between sessions and by the end I was dying for it to be over. I did a very similar thing when I played through Final Fantasy 1 and wonder if this will be a reoccurring theme as I delve into longer JRPG experiences as we progress through this series. I found the infamous levelling system of this game very hit and miss, I think that’s the common consensus. In reality it ended up working similarly enough to a normal levelling system, that it didn’t bother me enough to widely detract from the experience. The villain was much cooler in Final Fantasy 2, taking over hell is pretty cool, then coming back to Earth more powerful to fuck over the people that sent you there, is cooler and that’s what the Emperor does in this game. That being said, I think I will more fondly look back upon my experience with the first Final Fantasy. I don’t regret my time spent with this game but it’s certainly not an experience I would lookback upon with thirst. But the workload never ends and now it’s time to move forward to Final Fantasy 3, exclusively for the Nintendo DS! (YAY)

 

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Final Fantasy 3:

I’ve played literally 5 minutes of Final Fantasy 3. All I can tell you is the art style is already annoying me and I will have more for you next month.

Octopath Traveller:

Last time we spoke I had barely started Octopath Traveller, but now that I have put a few more hours into the game I’m enjoying myself and have become quite engaged in the experience. I mentioned last time that I choose Therion as my first path, but in my opinion, it took far too long, nearly a full hour of gameplay, to enter any combat. The story writing in this game so far is entirely uninteresting, so this long stretch without any gameplay was boring me to death. The same issue interfered with the pacing and my enjoyment later when I had to sit through H’aanit’s storyline. However, I loved the non-linearity of the game; I could have gone north or south after completing chapter 1 of Therion’s story and visited any of the other characters. Both the dry mountain and lush forest area’s I’ve journeyed through so far, have been dynamic and interesting, but I’m thirsting for a proper dungeon. Additionally, Therion levelled up 10 levels from one battle when I effortlessly killed a supposedly high-level enemy, all while I was barely paying attention; that was cool. I will report back in a month with hopefully quite a bit more progression and with a lot more to talk about.

 

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NJPW Destruction Tour:

There wasn’t anything that catered to my specific interests on this tour, the Tomohiro Ishii vs Kenny Omega match was quite predictable, even if I hoped beyond hope that he would win, I and everyone else knew the outcome of this match. Naito vs Suzuki has been done to death at this point, and the final night didn’t get interesting until after the main event was over. I had no stakes in the Okada vs Tanahashi match, my interest level in them is equal, so I watched this match half paying attention and without a horse in the race. But the most important talking point retrospectively from this tour is the big Jay White and Gedo turn on Okada after the Okada vs Tanahashi match. It was a brilliant swerve that I was kicking myself for not seeing coming. New Japan isn’t fucking around when it comes to Jay White, he’s young, has the character and charisma to carry a main event program and so I’m eagerly anticipating the direction they go with him and Gedo moving into Wrestle Kingdom 13 and beyond.

 

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Hell in a Cell 2018:

Boring! I liked absolutely nothing on this show besides the result in the SmackDown Woman’s Championship match. Becky Lynch won the championship just like I told you she would last month, because after all only heels are successful in WWE contemporaneously. Besides that, I have no understanding of why the praise for this show has been so universal. Ronda Rousey sold for Alexa Bliss for 10 minutes for some reason. Fuck the tag title match, I will never care about Dolph Ziggler again, you’ve burnt that bridge WWE, and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are currently uninteresting and directionless. The only wrestler I care about in this match is Drew McIntyre. Why was the main event of this show McIntyre against Reigns? Both Hell in a Cell matches was forgettable and drawn-out bore fests. AJ and Joe had another disappointing match, AJ’s 20th disappointing match of the year, and their feud was unnecessarily propagated by a finish that made both look like morons. And I didn’t even pay attention to the mix tag match, give me a fucking break.

 

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Mae Young Classic 2:

I’m liking the second annual Mae Young Classic a whole lot. I don’t like Rhea Ripley’s new gimmick, she’s a national relative of mine coming from Australia, but her persona feels like she’s playing the bad guy. She can’t quite sell the authenticity of her character and that’s largely the issue with everybody in this tournament, with only one standout exception. Even the other home-country girl Toni Storm is overly goofy and a bit cringy in her interviews, it still seems like she’s playing an unconvincing character she doesn’t quite believe in. But Io Shari is the obvious aforementioned notable exception. She looked like the superstar she absolutely is in her first-round match with Xia Brookside, who also has the makings of a superstar. She demonstrated in this solitary match that she and Sasha deserve to Main Event WrestleMania before Ronda and Charlotte even begin to sniff it. Io Shari is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world and her intensity and charisma were on display in this match. I can’t wait to see her other matches in this tournament. Other names that stood out and impressed me, were Xia Brookside, who I already went over, and Killer Kelly who I’m interested to see develop on the NXT UK brand. I thought she excelled in her first-round match. I’ve spoiled myself on both the Mae Young Classic finals and the inaugural United Kingdom Woman’s championship tournament, and I’m exceedingly happy for my Australian girls and feel deeply sorry the main roster girls that are going to have to compete with the finals of this tournament on the Evolution card, because that final is going to be outstanding.

 

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Pokémon Emerald:

I peered over to my DS Lite and saw the cartridge of a threequarters-completed Pokémon Emerald game and then suddenly I was playing it again. I have long pronounced this game (and gen 3) as my favourite in the Pokémon series, with secretly never having actually completed a playthrough of Pokémon Emerald, only having completed playthroughs of Ruby and Sapphire. So, it was in my ideological best interest to finally finish this game of this save file I started sometime earlier this year. And let me say I’m the greatest Pokémon team creator of all time because this team is fun as fuck. Sceptile, Claydol, Camerupt, Crawdaunt, Exploud and Armaldo is fucking menacing team and every time I open up my party in the menu screen I’m rewarded with a glimpse of a satisfying group of captivating monsters ready to fuck shit up. While I was traversing the back half of this game I was reminded that I’m absolutely correct and these are the standout games in the franchise. The unique ways that water routes are crafted in this game is insane, it justifiably has the best water environments in any Pokémon game. The pulling currents puzzle, the diving puzzles, the waterfall inclusions and the variation in scenery with the rocks in certain areas, these are all elements integrated satisfyingly into this game. This game is the best what else can I say.

 

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Pokémon Colosseum:

I got an itch and found myself for the 5th or 6th time, playing through Pokémon Colosseum, and after I finish it I’m planning on revisiting its sequel: Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, for the 5th or 6th time. I’m continuously drawn back to these games, I get an itch every few months to go back to them; at this point they’re easily the Pokémon games I’ve played through the most time. To be fair they are also the shortest traditional Pokémon adventures and therefore 5 or 6 playthroughs of them isn’t as impressive as it may sound. Very superficial elements can draw me to any piece of media and the two superficial elements I can identify about these particular games, that keep drawing me back are, the battle interface’s aesthetic and having a team of large scale monsters rendered and realised in 3D console glory. I love both these aspects about both these games and it’s the reason I come back to them constantly, I’ll just think of having Aggron and Tyranitar back to back on my side of the battle, while traversing a sleek and smooth battle UI.

 

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Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness – the Black Sheep of the Series

The two Nintendo GameCube exclusive Pokémon games, Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, were the first fully 3D Pokémon experiences, predating Pokémon X and Y by nearly 10 years. These games are the black sheep of the franchise for a variety of reasons, there are no wild Pokémon encounters and even when they are implemented in XD they aren’t used traditionally. There are no GYM battles or a Pokémon League pushing you’re journey forward, instead these games are much more story focused. Catching Pokémon is done through stealing them from unsuspecting trainers that have been duped into perpetuating darkness in the region of Orre by the evil syndicate Cipher. These games are all different from main series Pokémon entries for these mechanical reasons, but they have very special different elements that makes these games, more particularly, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, some of my favourites in the storied franchised.

 

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The aesthetic of the Orre region in both games assists the game in creating its own vivid identity. The towns and dungeons in these games are unlike any in the main series games, both in creativeness and grit. Colosseum has a clearly gritty aesthetic, you begin at the Outskirt Stand, a desolate train turned store, then the player journeys to Phenac City and Pyrite Town. These clearly juxtapose each other and provide insight in the variation of environments in Orre. Pyrite is a criminal underbelly and Phenac is a palatial estate, ultimately the irony here is that Pyrite is run by a flawed man with a heart of gold in Duking, while Phenac is run by the evil leader of cypher and final boss of the game, subverting players expectations. These environments extend to the lively and unique underground city known as the ‘Under’ and Agate Town, a retirement village in the forest, full of old-time Pokémon Masters. However, XD takes the evil dungeon idea to a whole new level with the introduction of a literal upside-down industrial polluting pyramid used as a lab, and a volcanic evil liar that serves as a final area. These environments are captivating and are a joy to roam through, and are like nothing seen in other Pokémon games, making these games standout as the black sheep of the series, along with all the mechanical difference discussed earlier.

 

 

 

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Pokémon is Infinitely Replayable and its Genius

The Pokémon formula has remained largely unchanged for 20+ years and Nintendo seems resigned to the mantra that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and Pokémon is still making money hand over fist. There are still 3 starters, there are still 6 Pokémon slots in your party and there are still 4 move slots. And there are still 8 GYM’s, Sun and Moon may have tangentially diverged from the GYM formula, but the upcoming Switch titles are returning to the unchanging formula. Complaining about these similar elements in every game in the franchise demonstrates to me that you’ve missed the point of Pokémon, and that’s the creatures themselves. The Pokémon, in Pokémon are the main draw. The designs of the Pokémon are consistently good, (there are some outlier terrible designs and there is a tone of awesome, imposing creatures) and the typing system itself breeds creativity. But the seer amount of Pokémon in each game make the games individually infinitely replayable and it’s a genius formula on Nintendo and Game Freaks part.

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There are a shit-tone of Pokémon, more than 700, and your different Pokémon playthroughs hinge entirely on your choice of party members, therefore Pokémon urges its player-base to return to the games and try again with different combinations of Pokémon. And that’s the genius of Pokémon from both a design and commercial standpoint, infinite replayability and lack of burnout due to each playthroughs uniqueness equals a whole lot of cash. If you choose Charmander on your initial playthrough, players then want the perspective of starting with the different starters and replay the games with Squirtle or Bulbasaur as their leads. New Pokémon games will continue to sell because more Pokémon introduced means more possible combinations and new alterations to the sprawling online meta. Pokémon is infinitely replayable and its genius. If Nintendo and Game Freak can keep churning out these games with new creatures, they will have a well-oiled money-making machine forever.

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YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED

You have the internet and have absolutely no excuse to be bored, everything is available, and everything is free. There are countless YouTube channels making quality content for you to consume, for the last hundred and fifty years the world has been creating movies for you to enjoy, listen to some fridge contemporary music, listen to podcasts while you endlessly grind away on your favourite game. You have infinite possibilities at the tips of your figures, more power than anyone in human history ever has. Are you feeling meaningless well there are hundreds of niche communities for everything you can imagine, you belong in at least one of them.

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Watch Neon Genesis Evangelion if you haven’t, its necessary for your development as a human. Have you caught up on Berserk recently shits getting real? Oh, you haven’t even started your Berserk journey well then you have 39 volumes of wholly worthwhile manga to catch up on, binge it you’ll be a different person afterwards. Finished Berserk read Vinland Saga. Want to know how Japanese nihilistic media came to be? Go back and read the original Devilman manga or if that turns you off watch Devilman Crybaby for a more contemporary version. ALL THIS CONTENT IS FREE, why haven’t you consumed it yet? YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED.

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Have you seen the Godfather? How about the Godfather Part 2? These are necessary, must watch cinema and will alter the way you see atmosphere and tone in media. What in particular did you like about those movies, are you intrigue by what cinema can do from here? Or are you more enticed by the mafia elements of the Godfather and interested in exploring those elements further? If you want more integral cinema surf the Quinton Tarantino catalogue of films; start a Reservoir Dogs and make your way to The Hateful Eight, it’ll change the way you think about dialogue in media. But if your more interested in the depiction of the mafia in other media, the natural cinematic progression is to watch Goodfellas, for a more grounded and realistic take. But then you have a long form 70+ hour philosophical drama, the HBO original series to watch is The Sopranos. It’s a sprawling story about a nihilistic, depressive mob boss and his journey to get his life in order, it’ll alter the way you think about long-form storytelling. ALL THIS CONTENT IS FREE, why haven’t you consumed it yet? YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED.

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This is but a sliver of the possible media for you to consume if you follow the natural progression of the content trail. Ultimately my message here is you have limited sacred time to be conscious and to be thinking, don’t waste it on boredom, you have more options than anyone ever has, don’t waste it. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED.

Media Consumption Week #1 (Monday July 23rd, 2018)

Welcome to the weekly (hopefully) series of me chronicling my media consumption while giving brief opinions on the various things I’ve been watching, reading, playing ect. I welcome any conversation or discussion in the comments:

Steins; Gate:

I unintentionally re-watched all of Steins; Gate in a few days, I just got entirely sucked in after watching Episode 1. I think this further demonstrates to me that re-watching your favorited series is so important in understanding what you consider the peak of entertainment. Figuring out how everything fits together and noticing little details in any narrative, strengthens your liking for whatever series. But this re-watch was so interesting to me because I used to believe Steins; Gate was my favourite show for a time, and then I watched some other shows and didn’t revisit this show and it fell gradually down the list. Following that I remember trying to re-watch some of Steins; Gate about a year ago but I didn’t really like it and found the dialogue cringy and annoying. However, now after a fully-fledge entire re-watch I find myself liking this show as much as I ever did. It’s not on the level of The Sopranos or Black Lagoon but Steins; Gate remains special to me. Ultimately: Re-watch your favourite shows with regularity, it’ll make you feel good.

Despite my anecdotal monologue, some aspects of the show that I appreciated this time through were the character interactions and just how fun they are to watch. Obviously, this has always been an acclaimed attribute of this show, but in this re-watch, I found myself savouring the opening 10 episodes because the slice of life interactions, and sadly that isn’t as prevalent when the drama and plot begin to pick up after the major plot twist of Episode 12. I fell back in love with these characters and watching them on screen was so fun and nostalgic, and proved for a very enjoyable overall experience.

Steins; Gate Zero:

Originally, I watched Steins; Gate 0’s pilot episode upon its initial release, but it had been awhile since I had re-watched the original and I was slightly lost about where this show fit in on the timeline among other little aspects, so I just ignored it recently, internally coming to the conclusion that I would watch it all once it came out entirely. Now the Dub is out and there were about 11 Episodes out, so I decided to give it another chance, and ended up watching it all in about three days. The emptiness left in my heart when I caught up was what drove me to re-watch the original series and now I’m anticipating the next release.

Now to discuss the actual show: It’s an unrivalled experience for me. The structural nature of a sequel to Steins; Gate that takes place on a world line where none of the character interaction are remembered by anyone, but Okabe is brilliant. When familiar elements in the narrative reappear but are slightly different it truly gives you a thrill making your mind wonder with the possibilities. An example is when Moeka initially appears and the viewer is made to think about what her possible roll in this world line is. All reappearing characters and plot elements are like this and it is truly an experience that keeps the viewer on his/her toes on a fundamental level. Additionally, me picking up on hints and foreshadowing due to my many experiences with the original made me feel respected as a die-hard fan of the series. I picked up on the identity of the biker chick and noted the American professors strange behaviours because it was foreshadowed similarly to things in the original Steins; Gate and those “ahahhh” moments are the adrenaline filled highs I live for. So far, I think its earned its already monumentally high position on MAL and is a worthy sequel to the original Steins; Gate.

Cowboy Bebop:

Watching Cowboy Bebop for the first time was a daunting task; As much as you try to repress the acclaim surrounding it and judge it purely by its merits, the legacy of the show still bleeds through and influences your opinion. Part of the reason for my lack of Cowboy Bebop experience was because it is an episodic show and that really doesn’t traditionally appeal to me, and even in this show I wasn’t enthralled until Episode 5 which absolutely blew me away entirely. What I love about this show, and this is even present in the episodes I wasn’t so into in, is the sound design where the show can go from being show loud and overbearing to absolute mellowness in an instant. This mellowness is my favourite individual aspect of the show, there is yet to be a completely over the top loud villain or hero everyone just maintains this overly cool demeaner and its captivating. This show is very relaxing, and I don’t think I’ve explained myself the best here…

More specifically I would like to discuss Episode 5: Ballad of Fallen Angels. I love everything about this episode and its easiest one of my favourite episodes of any tv show ever, I was completely blow away by this episode. I’ve watched it over a few times now and I absolutely hope that this is the only indication we ever get into Spike’s backstory, I’ve got all the information I need, and I now understand Spike entirely. The sequence of specialised music timed with the brief flashes into his past blew my socks off, it was more effective than any other expositional method and I really hope they don’t attempt to create any more depth there because its unneeded. The atmosphere of this episode is uniquely brilliant and justifies my time investment in the unequal first hour and a half of content.

Neon Genesis Evangelion:

I’ve only recently got Neon Genesis Evangelion. I watched it earlier this year for the first time and chronicled some of my ongoing thoughts on Twitter and then came to the conclusion that Eva was special, but I didn’t entirely get it yet. Recently re-immersing myself back into the world of Eva, I finally appreciate it the way I wanted to originally. Moreover, I understood its predominant social commentary of communication and how when it breaks down (and it always does) how everything goes to shit. I started thinking of how miscommunication leads to nearly every problem in everybody’s lives and leads to depression and all that good stuff. My epiphany about communication and its relation to Evangelion through a recent re-watch also further proves my previous point about the importance of re-watching your favourite series’.

My Hero Academia Season 3:

My Hero Season 3 has been in a bit of a slope recently. After the conclusion of the first arc of this season we’ve been having some down time to refocus on the hero’s in trainings’ training, also known as the most boring aspect of this series. By the end of the All for One vs One for All fight my investment in the villains was at an all-time high. But they seem to have been reserved in the background for the time being to focus on this upcoming exam. The most recent episode has shown some potential and I believe we will be emerging from this slope in quality in the coming weeks.

Vinland Saga:

Vinland Saga caught my eye because it was commonly compared in some way to Berserk and that there is an upcoming anime for the series and I wanted to get ahead of the game. After reading it for 6 volumes I have every intention to complete it. I don’t have any foundation opinions on the series yet, and my biggest take away so far is that I enjoy the characters. Thorfinn may have some generic qualities but his brooding, edginess (for lack of a better word) is fun to watch. Askeladd is the most interesting character so far, he obviously has his own agenda and I’m interested to see how the Welshmen develops. Finally, Thorkell is great, he’s another character with some generic qualities but his disregard for convention and absolute self-confidence is also fascinating to watch. Overall I’m just interested in how the entire manga develops from here, because there’s definitely potential here.

Berserk Manga:

I’m cautiously reading and taking notes of the Berserk manga for an upcoming project and re-reading this series is an absolute gift. Analysing the idiosyncrasies of this manga and now understanding the proper thematic relevance and sub-textual elements gives you a different perspective on Berserk and a better understanding of just how great this series truly is. However, I’m going to wait to delve too deep into Berserk, to not spoil my aforementioned upcoming Berserk related project.

Octopath Traveller:

I have played very little Octopath Traveller at this point and I predominantly just mirror the most generic, reoccurring sentiments that it looks beautiful and plays well. No hot takes here, I hope to play much more of this game over the next week.

Fortnite:

What can I say about the universal phenomenon from Epic Games? I’ve been playing Fortnite for nearly a year now and I’m still completely interested and invested and play nearly every single day. My recent Nintendo Switch purchase absolutely hasn’t assist in quelling this craving. Easy access to just one more game is life-altering and it’s still as fun and addictive as ever. I’ll continue to play this increasingly more popular game…

G1 Climax 28:

New Japan’s G1 Climax is acclaimed throughout the wrestling community as one of the shining examples of professional wrestling. My New Japan journey began earlier this year on January 4th (and not for the obvious reason) so this G1 is my very first, and I was excited and hyped for both the tournament and even the press conference, and I was not disappointed in the slightest by either. The press conference was great and only further highlighted that New Japan doesn’t only have the best pure wrestling in the world but by far the best promos in the world. WWE promos are scripted and unconvincing whereas they press conference interviews were incredible with Zack Sabre Jr. giving his usual hilarity, Fale proving that you only need a few words to get your point across and Tama Tonga and Juice Robinson empathising that they are the best two promos in the business. (And don’t forget about young Jay White)

The three standout stories in this year’s G1 are the reanimation of the Bullet Clubs old ways, Jay White proving to be the best up-and-coming heel in the business and Toru Yano trying to fight against his true nature. The first two are intertwined in a controversy about outside interference and ref bumps; in both these storylines cheating in their matches or outright disqualifications are heavy prevalent and this has some people outraged. This all feeds into the story and New Japan is already capitalising on this aspect of their respected storylines by subverting the views expectations and creating something new. Jay White’s cheating finally caught up to him and he got his comeuppance when Minoru Suzuki beat the shit out of him and ended his undefeated streak. As for the Firing Squad they have been making enemies of the referee’s and this is having consequences in their G1 standings, because they’re losing matches because of it. Additionally, when the referee goes down and the baby-face still overcomes the odds like Sanada did over Tama Tonga the crowd exploded. All this is building and has consequence, this isn’t a fuck finish to delay a feud a couple more weeks for the PPV, it has legitimate storyline weight to it.

As for match recommendations, the following all stand out to me; (notably these are all B-block matches): Naito v Omega from Night 2, Zack Sabre Jr. v Toru Yano from Night 4, Naito v Ishii from Night 4 and Ishii vs Goto from Night 6. If you’re a lapsed wrestling fan or ever been curious about the wacky world of professional wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling is an excellent way to start.

Extreme Rules 2018:

It was bad. I think at this point we all understand that this event was forgettable and terrible, and it isn’t the crowds fault at all. The event was encapsulated by the crowd’s stellar performance, this show was too long, and no one cares about any of this garbage. Who could possibly care about anything on this show; nothing matters these titles are traded back and forth for no discernible reason, there’s no consistency in the storytelling and it’s just a cycle of fan-hatred and garbage television. WWE was ruined Asuka in favour of a joke side-kick and Carmella, pulled the trigger on some unfunny comedy tag team 6 weeks too late and wasted everyone’s time for 30 minutes on a fuck finish. I have nothing new to add; this show was garbage.

Ubisoft E3 Press Conference 2017 Review

South Park E3 2017 Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s E3 2017 Press Conference was about the same quality of the Sony Press Conference, it was helped by a major announcement towards the end of the show that had a lot of people extremely excited, with the announcement of Beyond Good and Evil 2. Personally I’m very unfamiliar with the first game so I was excited for those her were excited and the trailer itself was engaging. The juxtaposition of a traditionally child-friendly looking character saying, ‘Motherfucker’ was pretty awesome and unexpected. The original is on the GameCube and I’m now interested in going back a purchasing and playing the original game in time for the sequel, but judging from the lack of any gameplay the game doesn’t seem to be coming out any time soon. Now let’s move onto the aspect of this show that I am familiar with.

Skull and Bones E3 2017 Ubisoft

We were reminded that South Park: The Fractured but Whole is supposedly coming out later this year. Sadly I seriously doubt that the development team will make the date due to the complexity and quality of the previous game. The game itself looks like it builds off the first game which itself, especially as a first outing, was excellent. Another game that caught my eye was Skull in Bones which takes elements from multiple different previous Ubisoft titles that have come out in recent years. Evidently the pirate aspect comes from Assassins Creed: Black Flag which was critically the best aspect of the game, I haven’t played any Assassins Creed games personally so I’m unaware, but it also takes the only-online gameplay from For Honour. These two aspects combined will make for an interesting game that I’m looking forward to trying.

Far Cry 5 E3 2017 Ubisoft

The final game that stood out to me from this press conference was Far Cry 5. I’m a massive fan of the Far Cry series having obtained the platinum trophy Far Cry Primal and loving Far Cry 4. So I was heavily anticipating the reveal of Far Cry 5 and I was even more excited when the initial trailer was realised just before E3, maybe in hindsight they should have held that announcement back for this press conference, which reflected the more serious elements being explored in this game. This intriguing story design combined with the gameplay of typical Far Cry, displayed at this press conference, will make for an excellent game. Everything they showed here at the press conference was everything I wanted to see plus they made the announcement that coop will be available for the story just like Far Cry 5, this will undoubtedly lead to some insane moments of gameplay and a great game overall.

6Overall Ubisoft’s E3 2017 Press Conference gets a 6. As mentioned in the beginning of the article, in my opinion, the Sony and Ubisoft press conferences were about equal in quality. None of them compared to either of Sony’s big conferences from last year, but really how could of?

Sony E3 Press Conference 2017 Review

Sony’s 2016 press conference may have been the single greatest video game press conference that I had ever seen, so saying the this year’s conference had some extremely high expectations would be a savvier understatement. As a result of these expectations this press conference was disappointing to me. Many games weren’t included including The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding and STILL no announcements regarding whatever Sucker Punch is working on. All round there wasn’t many announcements at all, the whole thing was basically just updates on games that were revealed last year. The conference also felt to short and I thought there wasn’t enough talking by the presenter, which is something I never thought I would say. However Sony did pull through will amble PSVR updates and once again hit it out of the park regarding production value.

Days Gone E3 2017

The first truly notable announcement to me, was the Horizon Zero Dawn expansion announcement. I thoroughly enjoyed Horizon, so much so that I have the Platinum Trophy for the game, and this inevitable expansion is something ill definitely be picking up. The trailer itself didn’t give us really any insight into what we might be doing in the expansion but as long as there are enthralling machines to slaughter I’ll be there. Another game I’m incredibly excited for is Days Gone. It was my favourite game of last year’s E3 and its showing this year restabilised the excitement I have for this game. Hopefully Sony Bend can get this game out soon so it doesn’t get even more comparisons to The Last of US when they are clearly very different both in terms of tone and gameplay. In the demo they showed I was relating far more to the characters than I did last year and hopefully this game, like Horizon has established Guerrilla, establishes Sony Bend as a reliable and creative studio comparable to Naughty Dog.

God of War E3 2017

Another game that had a very impressive showing last year at E3 and was further established as a heavily anticipated game for me heading into 2018 was God of War. I have never played a God of War game because Kratos is such an unappealing and boring character but in both of these trailers Kratos has come across and appealing and interesting. Both of the trailers we have seen on this game have had great mini stories within them with the bonding between father and son in last year’s trailer and the swerve in this one with the massive sea monster. If this was typical boring Kratos, he would have attack this thing instantaneously and I really appreciated that the creature wanted to help them. The conference ended with Spiderman for PS4 which had a pretty epic trailer showing both some gameplay and the essential web swinging mechanic. I remain optimistic regarding this game because Spiderman is my favourite Superhero and I have been burned in the past in regards to these games and hopefully this game has something resembling a compelling plot.

SpiderMan PS4 E3 2017

6Sony’s E3 2017 Press Conference gets a 6. This is because of the bar that last year’s press conference was raised so far, this in comparison, was nothing. To improve this conference I believe that Sony should have held the announcement of The Last of Us Part 2 for E3. Undoubtedly if they had done this they would have won this year’s E3 instead of Nintendo.