Griffith Only Did One Thing Wrong…

Griffith’s actions in the Eclipse to a point, were completely forgivable and justifiable. In this instance the ends Griffith went to did justify the means all until the rape. RAPE IS BAD PEOPLE. It’s literally the worst thing that can be done to a human being, worse than murder, worse than theft, worse than anything. Sacrificing the Band of the Hawk is justified by the narrative itself, we spent multiple chapters wherein Ubik explains to Griffith that his life will be horribly mediocre if he refuses the sacrifice and everyone that ever followed him will have died in vain, that’s thousands of people that will forever be on Griffith’s conscious will he wastes away for the rest of his life. Characters that have mercilessly killed other characters the audience cared about have been forgiven in media before; Vegeta was responsible for killing nearly all of the Z Warriors and then just joins them, Magneto is always doing crazy shit and ends up teaming with the X-Men against an eviller and threatening being. Griffith could have been forgiven in a similar way… until he mindlessly raped Casca.

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But the rape of Casca was pointless and gratuitous. Griffith had nothing to gain from raping Casca, he did it simply to torment Guts. For chapters and chapters before the Eclipse, panel after panel conveyed his unhappiness and jealousy of the relationship he can see has developed between Guts and Casca since his capture. Maybe he believes they’d forgotten about him and that’s why it took them a year to come and rescue him, who knows and who cares; Griffith must die. For the crime of sacrificing everyone Guts cared about, for tormenting him by cuck-raping his wife Griffith has earned a death sentence. Griffith did only one thing wrong, rape Casca and for that one thing he must die…

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Attack on Titan Manga Chapter 109 Proves Attack on Titan’s Superiority

Attack on Titan’s immaculate attention to detail perplexes me, even contemporarily, but it shouldn’t. Isayama has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn’t forget any details, no matter how inconsequential they may seem initially, everything in the story is relevant and he doesn’t forget anything. Chapter 109 demonstrates this attention to detail better than any other single chapter in recent memory. The dumb kid with one line of dialogue from Episode 6 of Season 1 is now a legitimate call-back character, that’s insane! And it shows appreciation for those of us that pay attention to the intricacies of the manga, perhaps more than we should. Another example is the child that Sasha saved in Season 2 is now a real character, with motivations and a personality, it’s unbelievable and Isayama should be properly praised for this outstanding achievement.

But even further than that is how seemingly impossibly perfect coordination between the anime production and Isayama is. Zackery has been a prevalent force in the recent episodes of the anime and therefore Isayama reintroduces this refamiliarized character into the manga storyline. This isn’t the first instance of this, Nile was reintroduced last month when his influence of the anime was increased, and his character was being highlighted. Season 2 was no different, right after the Beast Titan initially appeared in the anime, Isayama finally explained how the whole incident occurred by explaining that the Zeke could control and create certain mindless Titans, in that month manga realise. But the most effective example of this strategy and coordination was with the reveal of Ymir’s backstory. The anime reintroduced us to Ymir and reexplained why we originally cared about her and then in the accompanying manga realise that month we got an explanation of Ymir’s backstory through a note she had passed from Reiner to Historia. If the anime hadn’t refamiliarized the audience with Ymir I doubt the emotional resonance of that scene would have been as effective.

 

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The preplanning and coordination that goes into Attack on Titan is outstanding and whatever critics may say about Isayama’s illustrations and the anime bombastic presentation, credit must be given to the hustle of these fine boys and their dedication to the series. Isayama has given us a reason to comb over all past, present and future seemingly insignificant details for clues about upcoming events and characters. I have the greatest respect for Isayama and his rewarding narrative style and am glad I’m along for the ride.

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.

Monthly Manga Releases are Poison

Manga is excruciatingly strenuous to draw (newsflash for those of you unaware in the audience) and the life of a full-time manga artist is painstakingly difficult. Stories of Mangaka succumbing to illness and nearly dying due to the harshness of their deadlines, are ubiquitous now. Uniform examples include the minds behind High School of the Dead and Hunter X Hunter, among others, who have been unable to continue due to the strenuous mangaka life. This is due to the demands of publishers because they believe that’s what their readership requires to maintain any interest in their magazines. This output works with the readership for weekly magazines because the output of reduced content (lower average page count), in comparison with their monthly magazine counterparts whose chapters usually contain more pages. But unfortunately, the monthly output of this content is ultimately poisons the enjoyment of the audience.

I understand that Naruto isn’t a Monthly Manga – This is just a depiction of a Mangaka working…

A month is a considerable amount of time, and it’s a long time to wait for the next sliver of content for your favourite manga. Monthly publications like Attack on Titan suffer from this trickle of content that only propagates once a month. I caught up on Attack on Titan in 2014; during this time the manga was covering the people vs people arc (that is conveniently being covered contemporaneously in Season 3 of its anime), and the slow pace of that arc paired with the less action-packed more intelligent storyline proved for some significant backlash. The saying, “I signed up for ‘Attack on Titan’ not ‘Attack on Human’,” was popularised during this time and the arc was largely received poorly.

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But early this year in preparation for the upcoming adaptation I went back to re-read the notoriously tedious arc and concluded that the problem with this arc wasn’t the content itself but the realise schedule of the manga. The content of the arc is on the same level as all the other arcs in the series, but the progression in each chapter is harder to comprehend when there’s a month gap between realises. The wait can cause the readership to forget certain extraneous details to the plot, that are always relevant in Attack on Titan a series notorious for not hand-holding its audience with its weird expositional techniques. Forgetting things isn’t the only problem with the monthly release schedule, people have lives and can lose track of releases and quickly fall behind. With Attack on Titan I have fallen behind or fallen off 2 or 3 times just because of busy months in my life, and sometimes people who lose interest temporarily might never come back. But this comfortable separation wouldn’t be an issue if Attack on Titan realised content quicker.

However, most annoying of this situation is that there is no discernible solution to this systematic issue. Attack on Titan can’t become weekly series, I wouldn’t wish that work load and stress on my worst enemy, but evidently this monthly realise schedule isn’t working either. I truly don’t know what the ideal solution to this issue is. The monthly manga realise schedule is currently an incurable poison within the manga industry.

Naruto has Unrivalled Moments

Naruto is downplayed by the more ‘sophisticated’ members of the anime community, largely because of it Shonen demeanour and its failings in its penultimate moments. But on reflection Naruto has some unrivalled moments in the medium of Shonen animation. Naruto excels in fight scenes, it’s a Shonen after all, and a Shonen without interesting fight scenes is set out to fail. Several fight scenes standout out famously from Naruto’s long run in Weekly Shonen Jump, the fights between Rock Lee and Gaara, both fights between the primary characters: Naruto and Sasuke among many others all live on in the Shonen zeitgeist. However, I would like to bring your attention to two standout fights both in creativity and choreography that had me in disbelief on initial viewings: Madara’s introduction destroying the allied Shinobi Forces and Kakashi’s penultimate battle with Obito.

Madara’s reckoning on the Ally Shinobi Forces is an introduction to a new character (one that been teased since the beginning of Shippuden) and it’s the best in the series. Madara appears and the tone immediately shifts, by the presentation alone the audience immediately understands that this is a bad motherfucker and shit’s about to go down. The army of Shinobi roar with nervous fortitude and charge at Madara and he just pulverises them entirely with only named characters we are familiar with getting any counter-offence in at all. (there’s a neat moment from Tamari and Gaara shines here as well.) But after carving through hundreds of soldiers, with standout animation and creative Ninjutsu choreography, Madara cements this moment as unrivalled with his comet commanding technique after his awakening the Rinnegan. The massive rock amazes the viewer, we haven’t seen anything at this level yet, and now in his introductory fight Madara is outclassing everything we’ve ever seen. But the true climax of this fight is after the heroes manage to stop the first sky-blocking boulder, and Madara delivers a terrifying line by asking Onoki what he’s going to do about the second one? With a quick cut to the appearance of a second boulder just as gigantic as the first the audience realises they’ve been introduced to one of Naruto’s strongest characters. This is a moment were the audience vicariously freaks the fuck out through the characters in amazement. Additionally, to all the ongoing action, this scene is also laced with intrigue because between attacks and testing his abilities he’s also questioning Kabuto and exposition is tangentially leaked in the subtext of their conversation about the plan of the masked fake Madara that we would come to know as Obito. This is a quintessential way for an overpowered character to make an ever-lasting first impression.

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This Eye Moment is Awesome too…

Whereas Madara’s battle was an introduction to a character, this fight between Kakashi and Obito was the climax of both characters stories. After this Kakashi doesn’t really contribute to anything (until he’s shoehorned in at the last second) and Obito isn’t really Obito anymore. This fight has the weight of a long-term story, intrenched in both characters very foundation, they are intertwined with each other, and that is reflected in the uniqueness of their fight. This fight has two predominant elements; the friendly, flashback childhood duel between the two of them and the battle to the death happening in present time. These two elements distinctly juxtapose each other while also contributing emotional weight to each other. The flashes between the two ongoing battles creates a direct connection between them; moves are being repeated from their previous fight and reflected in the present one. Therefore, the audience is treated to 7 minutes of nothing but owe-inspiring Match Cuts between the battle in the past and the battle in the present. This is highlighted most proficiently by the parallel use of the fireball technique from Obito and the corresponding mud wall technique from Kakashi. This combination of Jutsu occurs in both fights one different scales and is portrayed through both lens. But the moment entrenched into my mind, and the clinical reason for my bewildering love for this fight is when the two fights finally address each other. The battle in the past has concluded and Kakashi has won, Minato gives the order for the two comrades to give the commemorative union sign, but before this can happen and before Obito can do the right thing, the contemporary version of himself pulls the past Obito back from past Kakashi and goes for the kill and contemporary Kakashi appears saving past Kakashi to deal the final blow with the fight ultimately ending with both intertwined Ninja impaling each other with their techniques. All this combined allows for the best fight in the entire Naruto franchise and an unrivalled moment unmatched in the Shonen medium.

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Fundamentally, Naruto has unrivalled moments that shouldn’t be largely downplayed by the anime community because of the series shortcomings in other areas. Maybe overall the bad outweighs the good in Naruto or Vice-Versa but the bad things shouldn’t undermine the legitimately exceptional elements of the series and those elements should be praised for their creativity and execution.

Media Consumption Month #1 (August 2018)

Welcome to the first monthly edition of Media Consumption, the post where I reflect on all the noteworthy media I consumed the previous month. Originally this series was going to be weekly, but I didn’t consume enough media to write articles every week to make these posts interesting. I welcome you to argue with me about anything or leave constructive criticism in the comments below: (You Don’t have to have an account!)

Attack on Titan Season 3:

Attack on Titan Season 3 has continued to develop, and now pages inscribed into my mind in only black ink are being fully-realised in animation, and it’s a fantastic experience. Attack on Titan is responsible for my current level of anime fandom, it brought me into the fold in 2014 and once I caught up on the manga later that year. At that time the manga was in the middle of this arc and so this adaptation is a great sense of nostalgia personally. Episode 2 stood out for expanding on the Levi chase scene and creating an action spectacle out of it with insanely, impressive animation. The People vs People arc is something I’ve been defending for years and the backlash from anime only watches has been surprisingly largely non-existent, which is reassuring. A heavily criticised element of Season 3 has been the OP, which is admittedly tonally more cognisant of the initial half of Season 3, but still incredibly lame and uninteresting. The ending theme however sounds like the birthchild of Season 2’s Opening and Ending, it is fucking outstanding. The aesthetic is unique and awesome, and the music brilliantly reflects Historia as a focal character. All in all, I’m eagerly anticipating the continuation of Season 3.

Steins; Gate 0:

Steins; Gate 0 is making me internally conflicted. Binge watching the first 12 episodes of the series, to catch-up, was so fun but the week to week wait with these episodes is poison to the shows pacing. It’s hard to re-immerse yourself in this complex story every week. Sometimes I’ve completely forgotten how we ended last week, so I think ultimately to get a proper view on the series I’ll have to re-watch the entire thing once the Dub is finished. But honestly the most annoying aspect of the show in these previous few episodes is the Steins; Gate 0 original character Kagari. She sucks, she terrible, I don’t care about her at all and she seems to be the motivation for the plot progression and recently and her voice actor is terrible. If I hear her scream mommy again I’m going to have a brain aneurysm. This show is currently on a wait and see basis, hopefully the show pulls through with a widely satisfying conclusion.

My Hero Academia Season 3: 

Filler is one thing, but a filler episode that’s just an advertisement for an inconsequential film that I’m going to force myself to watch, is an entirely different scenario. My Hero Academia double-decker fucked us with the latest episode and this filler garbage is pissing me off. I’m already significantly less interested in this arc in comparison to the first arc of this season and this shit isn’t helping. The most interesting arcs in My Hero are either tournaments or villain battles, whenever they focus on becoming a ‘hero,’ it bores me to tears, I don’t give a fuck about Superhero ideals just play with the characters we like. But if my speculation is correct things may get much more interesting when ‘she’ reveals herself in the coming episodes.

Devilman:

I read the first chapter of Devilman on a whim because I wanted to see the character designs and   how they differ from Devilman Crybaby (the only Devilman content I’ve seen). Little did I know the first chapter was about the weird and rushed dinosaur element from the end of Devilman Crybaby; and now I’m completely intrigued so I’ll be reading the original manga for the foreseeable future. It makes complete structural sense for this to be the opening chapter and I can’t comprehend why it was shoehorned into the final episode of the Netflix adaptation. The second chapter introduces the main characters and they are all largely like their 2018 counterparts, but the manga clearly is establishing a much slower pace, that I’m totally in favour of. Devilman Crybaby was an incredibly enjoyable clusterfuck, but at times it was hard to reconcile the character motivations and plot developments from episode to episode with the insane speed the show was running in. This manga however, seems to be explaining things much more clearly and I’m hooked.

Cowboy Bebop:  

I am forcing myself through this show… it’s just so boring! I’ve reached Episode 11, (the weird alien spoof) and I think the disconnect I have with this show comes down to my hatred of episodic media and my disinterest in anything to do with Space. I feel like I’m wasting my time largely while watching this show, there’s nothing we are building to, nothing to look forward to in anticipation, just more inconsequential characters dicking around. It’s a shame because Episode 5 is evidently a masterpiece, I would rather re-watch that 26 times than continue, but we’ve come this far so we can’t give up here, and maybe I’ll understand by the end. It’s certainly not all bad; the cinematography a times is impeccable, Ed is an excellent character and Faye is easily the hottest anime bitch ever, but I’m constantly watching Spike and Jet dicking around being entirely uninteresting. You can check in next month to see if my overall opinion on this show is any different.

Vinland Saga:

Vinland Saga is about to be the Anime of the Year in 2019, I’ve finished the prologue and next year’s anime adaptation is definitely ending here and when it does, I dare someone to try and challenge it. This was a text-book example of how to fantastically build and payoff a climax within a section (arc) of a story. Real progression with the plot and characters, genuine intrigue for how the story develops going forward, and self-contain, effective and memorable characters. I was completely blow away by the way Vinland Saga just surprised me and cemented itself onto my favourites list. That final chapter was so great; Askeland’s ultimate noble sacrifice and redemption that directly feeds into the development of Canute and Thorfinn was gripping. The last page and Thorfinn’s big, “WHAT NOW?” moment was exhilarating, and I get extremely excited when imagining that moment in animation. Everything came together so cohesively, and it felt like none of my time was wasted and all of my time was well spent investing in Vinland Saga… Thank You Mr. Makoto Yukimura.

The Vision of Escaflowne:

Escaflowne is the only of the four new shows that I watched the second episode of, because the first episode made such an impression. The art style is quite unique in this show, the texture on the dragon’s skin and the weirdly, good-looking over-sized noses all differentiate this show from anything I’ve ever seen. I like that both episodes had seemingly our two main characters both taking the role of the fish out of water in each other’s world and allowed us establishing moments of each respectively. It’ll be interesting if we keep switching between Earth and the ancient sci-fi world that’s name escapes me currently. The Dub in this show isn’t distracting and the main girls voice gives me odd nostalgic feelings, but I can’t place what other projects the voice actress has appeared in, that I’m familiar with. I’m interested to see how this plot, above the others, will progress going forward. All the other shows have a direction and a set tone already but this one seems to be the most dynamic and the one I’m most interested to see develop, even if Serial Experiments Lain was my personal favourite of the 4 new shows.

Revolutionary Girl Utena:

For this show choosing the Dub made for an incredibly unpleasant experience. The voice acting wasn’t remarkably terrible, though it wasn’t any good either, but the voice lines were out of sync with the mouths. This is some basic, fundamental shit that I believe would be difficult to fuck up this badly. The plot didn’t exactly interest me; I watched the first episode only and that was 2 weeks ago now and all I recall is she wants to be a prince to those in need because of her backstory and that she beat some prick in top of a floating castle above the school. It wasn’t all bad, I see the potential in the aesthetic and I love weird, unique shit and this definitively qualifies. Ultimately, this was my least favourite out of the 4 new shows I checked out this month, but I’m not dropping it and will likely be watching the sub going forward.

Serial Experiments Lain:

Serial Experiments Lain was fucking awesome. Unfortunately, I have only seen the first episode, but the entire show worked cohesively so effectively, that I was salivating by the end. The imagery and aesthetic are so visually compelling and striking that the scenes of the initial suicide and the distracted father with the multiple computers, are burned into my subconscious. What a fascinating show; from the aesthetic to the chilling music, to the arthouse elements, to just the way the characters deliver dialogue, everything directly speaks to me. I watched this show, as I did all others in the English Dub and this was easily the standout one of the bunch. Even the 13 Episode length excites me, and this is a show I’m deeply interested in continuing next month and watching develop further.

RahXephon:

RahXephon is intriguing. The obvious Evangelion inspirations and obvious, and I love it. It’s also been about two weeks since I watched episode 1 of this show, so I don’t remember everything (and likely will have to re-watch it) but I was intrigued. Seeing all the Evangelion elements slightly altered in a different team’s vision is a unique and fun experience. I identified the NERVE like military organisation, the Rei parallel character is self-evident and that woman that saved him in the abandoned train station is our Misato. This is one I’ll have to re-watch to remember all the little details that will become important later, but I’ll certainly be continuing this next month.

B Gata H Kei:

Whenever I would look back at my limited anime catalogue, one show stands as a flashing outlier. One of these things are not the same, and Yamada’s First Time or B Geta H Kei, was that outlier. It was a show I watched in Grade 8 for obvious reasons, but I remember liking it way too much. I began watching it in the Summer holidays (December where I live) and my family was on a vacation living in this rental house on limited internet and all I can remember thinking about the entire week of vacation was that I wanted to get home and continue watching this show. It’s a lot of what I thought about that entire week, and I couldn’t watch it while I was there because if KissAnime used up a huge amount of the data people would start asking questions and I didn’t want to have to explain what the show was to them. So, it was a constant internal struggle to pull myself away from the Safari tab on my iPad.

So now, a few years removed, I was fascinated to re-watch this show and try to understand my plight with this show, and this show is deceptively fun. The premise of the show is awesome, and I’m shocked at the overwhelming charm of all the characters. This show brings out something I like to call, ‘forgotten nostalgia,’ which is infinitely more powerful than your ordinary, run of the mill, nostalgia. As I gradually recalled elements of this show it transported me to a different time and the feelings of forgotten nostalgia were so strong. I got a similar feeling when I watched some old Looney Tone Cartoons on YouTube recently and remember the little jingles Daffy would sing to himself and how intrench into my very being they were. Re-hearing the Opening Theme and more importantly the Ending Theme after all this time shocked the nostalgia meter. Something I hadn’t thought about in years yet it all felt so near and familiar. Re-watching this show is a remarkable experience and I can’t wait to continue my journey past episode 3 next month.

G1 Climax:

The G1 Climax wrapped up in early August, and what a trip it’s been. 4 weeks of constant 3-hour professional wrestling shows definitely had me at my limit, but it was all undeniably fantastic, even if I was extremely salty about the conclusion. Before we get into specifics I would like to shout-out a retrospective lookback that New Japan has realised on their Japanese YouTube page that summarises the tournament, with some additional unseen footage of interviews with reoccurring and one-time audience members and shots of the behind the scene actions of the wrestlers. Even if you haven’t been following the tournament as closely as I have, it’s a must watch.

The G1 ended weirdly this year. I predicted going into the tournament that the finals would be a Wrestle Kingdom Main Event rematch with Naito finally beating Okada in a big match scenario. Evidently the finals didn’t feature either of them, instead Tanahashi defeated Kota Ibsuhi in the finals. Okada was eliminated due to his time limit draw with Tanahashi on the first night in Budokan, which was incredibly exciting and a nice feel good moment for the long time New Japan audience that adore Tanahashi, and this decision was fine with me because Naito beating Tanahashi again, this time in the finals would have fitted into the Naito storyline quite well. But that wasn’t to be because Naito lost to Zack Sabre Jr and Omega lost to Ibushi, and therefore the B Block ended in a 4-Way tie with each man having 12 points, but because of previous match-ups Ibushi, who had beaten all the other contenders, proceeded to the finals. Now Zack ending on 12 points is amazing to me, Zack is my second favourite wrestler in New Japan, but my most favourite is Naito and I was furious when Zack pinned him. Naito fans have been waiting for his big moment for years and we were denied it at Wrestle Kingdom and so this G1 was his to win. But ZSJ fucked it all up…

So, I went into the final night quite pissed and disinterested, but Shibata showed up and Tanahashi and Ibushi had one hell of a match. The final Tanahashi run was inevitable and I’m fine with it, he obviously deserves it and Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi is a mega-match. That along with the likely Chris Jericho vs Kazuchika Okada for the Intercontinental Championship have me very excited for January 4th. I have no idea what Naito will be doing until January, and Juice Robinson vs Cody is going to yield some phenomenal promos. Ultimately, I’m incredibly thankful that New Japan gives us a month break until the Destruction tour, because I desperately need it.

NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4:

NXT Takeover this go around was underwhelming to me; my favourite match was the NXT Woman’s Championship between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler and that match withstanding, I didn’t care for anything else on this show. Nothing on this show was bad in terms of match quality or storytelling but nothing stood out to me. The Main Event felt like we were walking old ground, only to have a terrible finish. Adam Cole and Ricochet just didn’t inspire anything in me. The opener was meaningless, there were no stakes because everyone understood exactly how the match was going to play out. Velveteen Dream and EC3 was sloppy and all over the place and the whole show just felt unremarkable. The Kairi Sane match had something these matches lacked; I cared that Kairi won that belt. I’m a Kairi Sane fan and her beating Baszler told a simplistic story that kept me caring. All these other matches felt like the outcomes didn’t matter and they were just on the card to be good wrestling matches; and if there’s something I particularly don’t give a fuck about its good wrestling. With Kairi winning the championship I believe the Main Event for Survivor Series’ accompanying Takeover is evident; Kairi and Io Shari should tear the house down and show everyone what Japanese Woman’s wrestling is.

SummerSlam 2018:

Overall, as blasphemous as a statement like this usually is, I think SummerSlam handily impressed more than NXT Takeover. Nothing was as exciting as Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, nothing got the reaction that Becky Lynch’s turn got, and nothing was as clever as that Main Event. The opener however, was not a highlight of the night, the only person involved in this boring feud that I’m remotely interested in is Drew McIntyre. I have little interest in a babyface Dean Ambrose, I have even less interest in Seth Rollins currently and no amount of rehab will ever have me invested in anything Dolph Ziggler does. To boot this match was boring as fuck. New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers was enjoyable; retrospectively the New Day absolutely should have won the belts here, but hindsight is 20-20 and Eric Rowan couldn’t have picked a worse time to tear his bicep, and Harper should just continue killing dudes in his stead. Braun Stroman squashing Kevin Owens was fucking awesome, and incredibly ballsy for the WWE to do in front of this audience. There seemingly is a payoff coming from this squash with Kevin quitting recently on Raw, so he’ll be fine, and this got Braun to the exact point necessary for later in night. I love short matches that don’t fuck around, and this was a perfect example of one.

The two biggest matches for SmackDown were next and they both were remarkable. Becky Lynch may have been the most over wrestler on the entire show and it was fun to watch. The story in this match was executed with pin-point accuracy; it was necessary for them to get the belt off Carmella, she’s a bigger star coming off this run, they played into the audiences’ fatigue with Charlotte being rammed down their throats and paid off the audiences’ frustrations with Becky being repeatedly being walked over. If you’re a Becky Lynch fan this heel turn should be the best possible outcome for you, because now Becky’s going to be booked strong instead of being positioned as the moronic babyface and will only get over even more. You must be a heel, or AJ Styles, contemporarily to get over in WWE. Speaking of which this was the greatest fuck finish I think I’ve ever seen; AJ Styles and Samoa Joe probably could have had a basic storyline and had a barn-burner of a match but instead this entire feud is being dominated by an unbelievably well written (mostly well performed) storyline. Samoa Joe is the best promo in this company, he and Kevin Owens have a way to give their terribly written dialogue without sounding like absolute geeks; they are great in spite of the material they are given instead of being great because of the material they are given. Joe notably kicked out of the Styles Clash, and this may be an indication of his much-needed victory at Hell in a Cell. If WWE are ever going to go with Joe as a world champion this is the time. The follow up on SmackDown was also great, AJ told him to not do something and then Joe said FUCK YOU, beat him up and did it anyway like he was Stone Cold Steve Austin. There is no reason not to vicariously love Samoa Joe right now.

Daniel Bryan and Miz was fucking awful. It was way too long and after the previous two thrilling segments the crowd didn’t care at all. WWE has butchered Daniel Bryan’s comeback so terribly that Brooklyn couldn’t remember why they ever cared about him. The crowd was left in a bored hazed following that snore fest and hearing Baron Corbin’s music definitely didn’t wake them up. But WWE in another great decision had a surprise appearance from the Demon, and another fantastically refreshing squash match. Finn Balor desperately needed to remind any of us why we cared about him and he did exactly that with this performance, he’s a hot commodity again and I’m excited for what’s next. Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy calmed the crowd down again, these boys really couldn’t do anything in this position. Jeff definitely tried by killing himself with that Swanton spot on the apron, but the crowd was largely disinterested and now we can move on to Randy Orton and Jeff which I’m at least vaguely interested in.

To end the night, we got back-to-back viewings of Raw’s Main Events; and again, both matches delivered. Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey did what it set out to do, introduce the Bella’s for our inevitably depressing Evolution Main Event and put Ronda over as a monster. But most interestingly Roman Resigns and Brock Lesnar was a captivating finale to an entertaining night. You’ve got to respect the clever way WWE constructed this Main Event, from the Stroman inclusion to Brock’s continued rampage, to Roman finally pinning Brock Lesnar after 3 years of build. No one booed with disinterest like at WrestleMania, instead 15 thousand people were on the edge of their seats for the entirety and they were all worked into caring about Roman’s 15th big moment. Well done WWE, SummerSlam was pretty cool.

Denzel Curry – Taboo:

This album is unbelievably great. Denzel Curry’s new album Taboo is his best work yet and has permeated my ears ubiquitously over this past month. While I don’t believe any single song from the album compares to Imperial’s best song, This Life, but Taboo is exceedingly more consistent than Imperial or Nostalgic 64. Taboo (the song) is a melancholic, smooth opening that establishes the tone of the project and immediately prepares the listener, then Black Balloons follows and is a different sound than Curry usually puts forth. That obscurity is continued with Cash Maniac which are both smooth, memorable and almost relaxing songs, but this is entirely juxtaposed by the following track, Sumo, which is loud, intensive Denzel at his best. Reference to Chowder, references to Rikishi (which obviously popped me) and references to obscure PS2 platformers all combine into an energetic bridge to the second part of the album.

Super Saiyan Superman continues this energy with a quick track, that’s name itself is enough for successful song, even if it is weird Superman isn’t mentioned at all in the song. (I believe.) Switch it Up and Mad I Got It are the least memorable to me, I still enjoy them when they play but I haven’t yet sought them out specifically, but Siren’s was my favourite song from the album for a time. This is easily the smartest track on the album, there’s some fantastic wordplay from JID (especially the National Anthem section) in what I believe is his best performance to date, and the haunting final soliloquy makes for a smooth track, that’s definitely the most substantive on the album. Clout Cobain is next, and it’s been overplayed by me personally so now it’s not my favourite, but it very well may make a return to my favourites list from the album. The music video almost overshadows the simplistic song in some regards and I find they make a must more palatable combination, whereas the song separately is slightly repetitive.

The Blackest Balloon is another slightly repetitive track that benefits from its short runtime, but the chorus maintains a place in my head at least once a day. Percs is the song I’ve listened to the least on this song, only because I forgot to download it, so I’m too unfamiliar with the track to give an informed opinion on it. Finally, the album closes on Vengeance and Black Metal Terrorist, which both are heavy favourites of mine. They both maintain the high energy Denzel is known for and evolves them in two distinctly different directions. Vengeance is entirely stolen by JPEGmafia’s hilariously brutal feature, with the standout line of the album, “If he dies, he dies, Pussy meet the Sky!” Black Metal Terrorist is the ending of the album and it drills home the entire project with madness and high energy, fast verses. Overall this album is a definitive Album of the Year contender.

 

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.