One Punch Man S2 Episode 1 – The Hero’s Return

King and his ominous face

The long awaited return of One Punch Man has finally arrived. The question is does it live up to the standards that season 1 set up. My initial answer is NO. Maybe that too harsh. The story wasn’t bad at all. Seeing Saitama and Genos resuming their domestic life was entertaining. The subtle comedy this series offers remains intact. The biggest issue that was a disappointment was the animation.

King afraid to fight

While some fans though the animation would be worst that it was, I still didn’t really like it. To me the animation is too stiff. The original season not only had more fluid animation the camera angles were dynamic as well. The drop in quality is disappointing but not disqualifying. Basically, the animation is good enough. However, it is common for an anime series to see an increase in animation quality during more important fights. Nothing in this episode would be worthy of better animation.

Saitama saving

This season seems to have begun a more singular narrative. The first season was mostly just a monster of the week format. The Organization was introduced in the last season but they really didn’t seem involved in the larger story. We are introduced to the prophecy of Shibabawa’s, that predicts disaster. Genos is plotting revenge on a mysterious cyborg that has killed many and hopes to get into the to of the S Class. The King storyline had funny moments, but I don’t see the point in introducing him yet.

Searching for Saitama

Overall, while the animation took a hit and this episode wasn’t that compelling, I think One Punch Man will still be good. This is largely due to the fact that this episode was largely a reintroduction of the series and well hope. I’m of course excited to see how high the scale of enemy will go. One Punch Man was basically an anime masterpiece, I probably shouldn’t have thought this season would be just as great.

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Dororo Episode 13 – The Story of the Blank-faced Buddha

That statue carver

Dororo has been on break for a week. It has returned with Hyakkimaru now talking in fun sentences. He remembers the events of the previous episode. Dororo nags him with pleas, asking him to rest. We find that Oku has survived her suicide attempt. We then get to witness the latest demon dragging a man. The demon seems to have been taken on the form of his wife. Placing him on a stone, with a statue that literally slices his face off. The statue then forms the face of the victim.

The demonic statue

Dororo is drawn to the waterfall, where he sees the demonic statue. The demon woman from before arrives. According to Dororo she looks just like her mother. However, when Hyakkimaru “sees” her he’s unable to tell if she’s a demon. This is very interesting considering that we see Okaka help kill a man. Okaka tells them the story of the statues carver. Dororo claims that Okaka not only looks like her mother, but sounds like her as well. She asks to call Okaka “mama.” Okaka reveals that she’s the carver, resurrected by the statue, as Dororo fall asleep.

The map on the back of Dororo

Okaka takes Hyakkimaru. Dororo awakens and chases after them. He prevents Okaka from killing him. The fight between the statue and Hyakkimaru was boring. However, that’s not the real point of this episode. Despite Dororo’s age, I found it difficult to believe that she would really think that Okaka was her mother. I don’t know. I wasn’t really emotionally invested, even though I felt they wanted me to be. Anyway, they head to a hot spring where they run into the priest, Biwa-Hoshi. While there it is revealed that Dororo has a map on her back. That of course is the most important part of this episode to be answered in a later episode. Also, why hasn’t Hyakkimaru gain an organ after killing another demon?

First Impression – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Tanjiro’s family alive

Having been reading the many anime blogs I frequent, I noticed that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba or Blade of Demon Destruction was a common anime reviewed. Reading the reviews I decided to give it a shot. I have a tendency to favor anime over manga, so I was largely ignorant of the manga of the same name. Written by Koyoharu Gotoge and published by Shueisha since 2016, the series focuses on Tanjiro Kamado. He lives with his family as they make money selling charcoal.

Tanjiro’s family dead

Said family is massacred by demons and his sister Nezuko becomes one. Tanjiro sets out to seek his revenge and return his sister to humanity. I generally enjoy going into a new series without being familiar with the source material. The first episode of the series, Cruelty, obviously lays out the premise of the series. The first thing you notice is the animation and particularly the infusion of CGI. Combining CGI with 2D animation can be hit or miss. Ufotable seems to limit CGI largely to the background.

Giyu and his sword

The massacre of his family is bloody. Tanjiro runs through the snow with his sister on his back, unaware of the origin of the attack. His sister awakens, now demonic and attacks him. At this point it has been established that Tanjiro has a good nose. His sense of smell clearly is going to be an important part of this series. He tries to deduce if she was a always a demon or if she was at all responsible for their families death. As he begins to cry so does Nezuko, giving the impression that she still has human feelings.

Nezuko (muzzled) and Tanjiro

Their struggle is interrupted by a mysterious swordsmen. His sword is branded with the words “destroy demons.” He asks “why are you protecting it.” He grabs Nezuko and plans to decapitate her. Tanjiro begs him not to kill his sister. The swordsmen then becomes upset that Tanjiro was so passive. He then tries to kill Nezuko, but Tanjiro attacks him in a fruitless but clever assault. The swordsmen, Giyu Tomioka decides that he will give Nezuko and Tanjiro a chance. He muzzles Nezuko, telling Tanjiro to seek out Sakonji Urokodaki.

Nezuko and Tanjiro burying their family

Demon’s are a common troupe in anime, I wonder if the lore will be different or be derived from mythology. So far it seems that demons have zombie like lust for flesh and can’t be in direct sunlight which borrows from vampire lore. Tanjiro will need to learn how to kill demons himself. Despite Nezuko, we haven’t seen a demon that’s not human yet. I’m curious to see how powerful and large they can get. So far I like this series, I’ll definitely give it a try.

The Dragon Dentist Film Review

The massive dragon

From the creator of Evangelion, Hideaki Anno, The Dragon Dentist is an odd anime at first. Released in 2017, Dragon Dentists story takes place in Dragon Country. The main character is Nonoko, a new dentist, who’s job it is to protect the dragon from tooth cavity. She’s tasks with entering the jaws of the dragon keeping them clean from plaque and decay. Dragon Dentist is a retelling of World War 2. Japan uses dragons to support their troops. These gargantuan Dragons have one weakness, their teeth.

Bell and Nonoko

Nonoko finds a young boy from an enemy country named Bell, that appears to have been resurrected by the Dragon. Together they battle against the bacteria. There’s clearly a divide between the Military and the Dentist. They come into conflict many times in this movie. The first thing you notice about the Dragon Dentist is it’s animation. I was originally, drawn to the film when I saw some clips on a YouTube video. With former animators from Gainax and creators from FLCL, Tsurumaki Kazuya and Enokido Youji, The Dragon Dentist is well done.

The Wisdom tooth. LOL. Get it.

While it excels at animation it lags in story. The Dragon Dentist has a more significant story to tell than clean the teeth of Dragons. For example, when someone dies they go into an afterlife that is on the “other side of the teeth.” The higher message was lost on me. It may not be an issue with the story telling but my comprehension of the message. Furthermore, the existence of dragons isn’t explained. In addition to that a character named Salvatore Bianco is somehow immortal? He can’t be killed by weapons, it’s never explained why. Regardless, even with all it faults I like this anime, I think you will too.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 30 – Your Favorite Game of all time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

If you have been reading along with this challenge it should come as no surprise that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is my favorite game of all time. While I think that Breathe of the Wild is the Zelda game I would recommend most, that’s largely due to the open world elements that really wasn’t important or possible in the 90’s. Ocarina of Time was my “Favorite Classic Game.” Instead, I’ll list my top ten games of all time.

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  2. Super Mario Galaxy 2
  3. Resident Evil 4
  4. Mass Effect 2
  5. Bioshock
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Breathe of the Wild
  7. Star Wars: KOTOR
  8. GTA: 4
  9. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  10. Batman: Arkham City

That marks the end of my 30 Day Video Game Challenge. Thank you for your support.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 29 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving

Eternal Darkness

Most Nintendo console are largely platforms their top tier games. They definitely not for second or third party games, especially not AAA one’s. Eternal Darkness is a game from the Silicon Knights, released in 2002. It wasn’t a commercial hit and Silicon Knights evetually went out of business. The game was a third-person action adventure game. You generally fought monster and solved puzzles. What set Eternal Darkness apart from other survivor horror games was the “insanity meter.”

When the is spotted by an enemy their green bar decreases. As the bar becomes lower the gaming environment changes. These effects are random and reflect the players distorted grip on reality. The camera angle can change, weird noises, bleeding walls, enter rooms only to find out that you never left the previous one. Your character may even appear to have die suddenly. I was concerned that this aspect of the game would get old and I would like it. However, the gameplay along with the interesting story kept me invested in completing the game.

The games story skip’s throughout time, from 26 BC to 2000 AD. You can play as 12 different characters. Multiple paths can be taken, with difficulty changing with each path. Unfortunately, Eternal Darkness sold poorly, despite the fact that it received high reviews. It was ranked 96th on IGN “best video game of all time on all systems.” The sequel to Eternal Darkness, entitled Shadow of the Eternals was planned but never could get the funding necessary. I’m still hoping it does.


Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 28 – Favorite Game Developer

Logo

Nintendo

This is the easiest day of the challenge so far. Nintendo is by far my favorite game developer. Nintendo is THE most storied game developer. I will make an argument that it is the most influential gaming develop ever. Nintendo was founded all the way back in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. Originally a hanafuda playing card company, Nintendo became a video game company in the 1970’s. What makes Nintendo so great is that they always focus on quality and fun as the most important aspects of gaming.

The legendary Mario

Many gamers have complained that Nintendo continues to produces games with simple stories and cartoon graphics, instead of more realistic and serious content. Nintendo wanted to build a reputation for having family friendly games. This wasn’t always well received by gamers. Violent games like Mortal Kombat were censored, removing blood and altering finishing moves. However, many of the games Nintendo produced were well made. This dedication to quality has to be the hallmark of Nintendo.

The 64 contoller

Nintendo also has been an innovator in the gaming industry. The many buttons featured on the face of a typical controller can be traced back to Nintendo in some way. The NES controller largely set the industry standard. The Nintendo 64 for example was the first home console to introduce four controller ports, so families could play together split-screen. They also brought the analog to home controllers and introduced 3D gameplay to gaming with Mario 64. Nintendo also dominated the handheld gaming market, with the Gameboy, Gameboy Color and now the Switch.

Smash Bros. Ultimate

Many have credited Nintendo with saving the video game industry itself in the 80’s with the NES. The most important aspect of Nintendo is of course the games. Mario. Legend of Zelda. Pokemon. Metroid. Donkey Kong. These are some of most influential and profitable video game ip’s ever. Collectively, Nintendo has sold over 700 million consoles and over a billion games. Most of the games I play are Nintendo games and their consistent quality is unmatched. Nintendo is a pioneer in the industry, whether it’s mobile gaming (Gameboy), multiplayer (64), VR gaming (Virtual Boy), motion gaming (Wii) or home to mobile (Switch). They take risks and keep gamers guessing.


Nintendo Switch – Neon Red and Neon Blue Joy-Con

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 27 – Most Epic Scene Ever


Psycho Mantis Reads Your Memory Card

Many gamers who hand the privilege of playing Metal Gear Solid and maybe some that haven’t, the boss battle with Psycho Mantis one of the most epic. However, before the fight with him, he “displays” his psychic powers. If you have a controller with the rumble ability, he will activate this feature. He can also make players believe that there’s a problem with their television, by turning the screen to black. I was borrowing Metal Gear from my friend and he deliberately didn’t tell me about this part. I actually though something was wrong with this game and turned it off. LOL.

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection

Furthermore, he “reads” the memory card of the gamer. Particularly, games like “Azure Dreams, Suikoden, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Vandal Hearts.” The breaking of the “fourth wall” was what made this such a shocking moment. Finally, when first attempting to defeat Psycho Mantis the player has to plug the game controller into another port, otherwise, you’ll fail to land a hit on him. The scene where Psycho Mantis shows off his powers is one of the most creative scenes in gaming and most epic.

Mob Psycho 100 S2 – 13 Boss Fight ~The Final Light~

Mob enjoying the fight

I have mixed feels regarding this episode. The animation was spectacular as always, but I feel that it may have been too dramatic. Mob Psycho 100 has always had battles that could be said as to be highly dynamic. In this episode something felt off. The end result was always expected, Mob “wins.” As Suzuki got stronger and stronger I always assumed that Mob would surpass him. The main issue is when there’s no limits on the powers of some psychics, there’s no sense of urgency in battle. Basically, they become spectacles of amazing animation and the outcome isn’t in doubt.

Suzuki at 100 % output

As I previously mention the animation was “dramatic and dynamic.” While this was visually pleasing I was unsure whether it was actually happening. For example, when Suzuki gains the upper hand, Mob begins twisting his arm, then the rest of his body. It was such a weird moment that I wasn’t sure if it was actually happening. You could argue that Mob Psycho 100 isn’t about the battle between psychics, it’s about the conflict with Mob. If the battles are just window dressing and the MORE important aspect of the show is Mob’s growth as a person.

Suzuki is arrested

That is the clearly the most important theme of this season, Mob’s growth. He’s always been powerful, but he hasn’t always been confident. Throughout this season Mob has become a more mature young man. Becoming more assertive, he’s been able to both make decisions for himself and be more critical of others. He did this without removing his compassion for others. Mob became a more complete person. Overall, this season had some downsides, the Claw arc was rushed in my opinion. No news on a season 3, but I’m looking forward to how Mob continues to grow.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Day 26 – Best Voice Acting

Voice acting is something that I tend to undervalue in gaming. It’s a passive aspect of the gaming experience. However, most games now feature voice acting. It’s difficult for me to determine exactly what makes voice acting good. Obviously, if the character is funny then you gonna appreciated the voice acting more. But is that voice acting? It more of a scrip thing than a voice thing right? Then again the voice actor has to deliver the lines well so the joke lands. I’ll choose my top 3:

1. Bayonetta/Hellena Taylor

This might be in part due to her British accent but Helena Taylor’s performance as the Umbra Witch, Bayonetta is great. Bayonetta can be seen as dry or cold, but she has wit and is clever. When fighting she often engages in playful banter. She likes to use sexual innuendo to tease her enemies.

2. Kratos/Christopher Judge

Anyone that’s played the God of War series know the voice of Kratos is iconic. Kratos is a stoic character that can be called uptight or self serious. He also has anger problems. As the result of his difficult life due to the Gods he can also be sad or even depressed. Come to think about it I don’t think we’ve seen him smile or laugh. His voice actor for the latest God of War game is Christopher Judge. The original voice actor (TC Carson) wasn’t particularly happy about Sony’s change, unsurprisingly. Regardless, Judge does a great job portraying the God.

3. The Joker/Mark Hamill

This ones pretty obvious, but Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker fame) as the Joker is probably one of the best and most well known video game voice actor. Like Kratos, the Jokers voice is iconic. I can’t really describe his voice but it’s distinct. Most importantly, Hamill gets the sinister Joker laugh perfectly. The Joker often changes his voice in subtle or unsettling ways. It’s a spectacular performance.