Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Not Only Is 'Saga of Tanya the Evil' a Notable Isekai, but It's a Compelling Alt-History Anime as Well

One of the anime I picked up for the 2019 spring season is the short-form series Isekai Quartet, which is a chibi-style crossover of Re:Zero, KonoSuba, Overlord, and Saga of Tanya the Evil.  Among those four isekai titles, Saga of Tanya the Evil was the only one I hadn’t watched prior to watching Isekai Quartet.

In watching Isekai Quartet, I found that a basic knowledge of Saga of Tanya the Evil – very easily acquired through a quick Wikipedia read – was what’s merely needed in order to make sense of its place on the show.  Meaning, watching the entirety of Saga of Tanya the Evil is not integral to enjoying Isekai Quartet.  Nevertheless, completionist compulsion dictated that I still should go watch it.  Plus, there was the possibility that a very clever gag might come down the line which required the viewing of the source material to be understood completely.  And so, I binged all available episodes – which are only 12 so far, all from the debut season that ran in 2017.

Friday, May 10, 2019

'Happy Death Day 2U' Boosts My Love for This Fun Property (and Potential Franchise)

Despite its flaws, Happy Death Day was a film I really enjoyed the first time I saw it.  And on the second viewing, I got to love it.  Yes, it was cheesy and dumb, but it was also dominantly fun, stimulating, and endearing.  When the trailer dropped for Happy Death Day 2U, I was mightily elated, because: a.) I never got wind of any news of a sequel being developed (or if I did, I completely forgot), so it was a pleasing surprise; and b.) I was happy to revisit the characters, world, style, and story that I became deeply fond of.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Some More Thoughts on 'Avengers: Endgame'

I still have a couple of scattered thoughts about Avengers: Endgame that I wasn’t able to address in my review for it.  I will lay them down here in this blog post.  Spoilers ahead.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Top 20 Moments of the 2018-2019 NBA Regular Season

An NBA playoffs packed with notable happenings is brewing right now.  But before we can get to celebrating that, let’s first look back at some of the most spectacular, craziest, most meme-worthy – most memorable – moments of the regular season that preceded it.  I pick twenty.

20.) When Kuzma Scored 41 points in Just 3 Quarters in a Win Against the Pistons
Not exactly like Kobe’s 62 points in 3 quarters.  But there are few things to love from yet another abysmal Lakers season, and I’ll take what I can get.

Friday, May 03, 2019

'The Umbrella Academy' Is Fun but Messy

The Umbrella Academy is a web TV series adaptation of the comic book series of the same name.  It’s about an eccentric billionaire named Sir Reginald Hargreeves who sought out and adopted seven of 43 children who were mysteriously born on October 1, 1989 from different women across the globe, who were not at all pregnant prior to their labor.  Each of the children proved to have a unique superpower, and Hargreeves assembled them into a crime-fighting superhero team called – what else? – the Umbrella Academy.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

LeBron's First Year with the Lakers was a Disaster

From day one, everyone in the media asserted that making the playoffs was already a given for the Lakers, just because of the mere fact that LeBron is now in the team.  And for two months or so, it was looking that way.  But then, their playoff positioning steadily slipped away, and the season eventually devolved into a dumpster fire.  As a Lakers fan for almost all of my life, I’m of course frustrated that my team isn’t in the playoffs for the sixth year in a row (and haven’t won a championship in nearly a decade).

The following are the sources of my exasperation, dismay, and displeasure regarding the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2018-19 season:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

That Was the Dumbest Battle Plan in, Like, Ever

Fans are raving about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Long Night.”  But in my case, my enjoyment was undermined by two things: a.) the dark cinematography; and b.) the shockingly dumb and inefficient battle strategy that the people in Winterfell employed.

Look.  I’m no expert in military strategy.  But as a layman – and a fan of turn-based and real-time strategy PC games and grand battles – looking in, I was appalled by their lack of preparation and waste of troops.  Sure, they were greatly outnumbered, and would have been overwhelmed no matter what, but they could have considerably prolonged the inevitable or even win narrowly but straightforwardly.

My face was red in fury while watching the Winterfell allies’ strategy (or lack thereof) unfold.  At that moment, I wished Robb Stark was still around.  But come to think of it, they did have capable strategists in the Lannister brothers.  Were they too shy to point out how atrocious Jon Snow’s strategy was?  I presume Jon Snow called the shots.  Only someone like him – courageous and honorable, but had time and time again proven to have no chops as a tactician – can contrive such disastrous battle plan.

Let me air out my problems with it.  Let’s start with the obvious…

Saturday, April 27, 2019

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Is a Sublime, Poignant Epic

(This is a spoiler-free review.)

There’s probably no other film that has been hyped more than Avengers: Endgame.  Nevertheless, one would likely discover after watching it that it isn’t in the danger of getting overhyped.  It’s deserving of all the hype.

More than being the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame functions as a fitting culmination of an era.  Sure, we can expect for more Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films in the future, but Endgame is clearly constructed to serve as the stupendous finale for this ambitious, groundbreaking cinematic saga that was started by Iron Man in 2008.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

'Escape Room' Has a Strong Start, but Underwhelms in the End

The concept of “a group of individuals being forced to play a game of life-and-death in which they need to solve puzzles in order to progress from one room to the next and extend their lives” has been explored in cinema before – most specifically in the Saw franchise and Cube.  However, it’s only in Escape Room that it’s utilized in the context of an escape room interactive adventure game.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I Wish 'Shazam!' Made a Gutsy "Captain Marvel" Reference

Shazam! marks the live-action, big screen debut in the Golden Age of comic book cinema for Captain Marvel.  No, not that Captain Marvel.  I mean the original Captain Marvel.  It’s kind of sad, really, that this superhero, which used to be more popular than Superman at one point in history, can’t be known now by his original name – a name that was actually first his.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

'Justice League vs. the Fatal Five' Is a Wonderful Treat for Fans of the Timmverse

The latest offering of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies is titled Justice League vs. the Fatal Five, and is a delightful return to the Timmverse (i.e. the DC Animated Universe), the setting of classic DC animated series like Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited.

It features a Justice League lineup consisting of founding members Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (with Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, and Susan Eisenberg reprising their iconic voice roles!), plus Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Mister Terrific, and rookie Miss Martian.  This time, they are pitted against the Fatal Five, a team of powerful supervillains from the future.  Coming to the heroes’ aid is Star Boy, a member of the Legion of Superheroes from the 31st century.  Unfortunately, he suffers from a mental illness that stifles his memory and coherence of thought, and the drug that he needs to stabilize his mind has not been invented yet in the present era.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

My First Impressions on 9 New Anime Series of Spring 2019

We are now in the opening days of the spring 2019 anime season, and it’s time for me once again to offer my initial thoughts on some new shows that I decided to try.  So far, I’ve watched one or two episodes of nine anime making their debuts this season.  However, I won’t necessarily be adding all of them to my crowded weekly watch list, which already include The Rising of the Shield Hero and Dororo, carryovers from last season, and the returning One Punch Man and Attack on Titan.  In addition, I may also end up watching some new anime that aren’t in this list down the line (if the buzz is to be believed, Carole and Tuesday is going to be important).

Anyway, here are the nine, arranged in descending order by their likelihood of keeping me as a viewer – i.e. from “what I’m certainly watching for the long haul” to “what I will probably drop or have already dropped”:

Fruits Basket
In a nutshell:
A remake of the 2001 anime.  Orphaned high schooler Tohru Honda finds herself living in the house of her heartthrob classmate Yuki Soma and his relatives, Shigure and Kyo, in exchange for doing the housekeeping.  Soon, she discovers the secret of the Soma clan: its members temporarily turn into animals of the Chinese zodiac when hugged by someone of the opposite sex.

Number of episodes as of writing: 2

My initial thoughts:
I haven’t seen the first Fruits Basket anime, which is apparently an iconic shojo.  So, it’s only now through this remake that I will be experiencing this story for the first time.  And this may actually be preferable.  Apparently, this new anime version is the true adaptation of the manga, as the original anime had to divert from its source material when it caught up with it (this is similar to the case of Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood). Anyway, based on its two first episodes, this is looking to be an extremely sweet, fun ride.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Ranking the Winter 2019 Anime I Watched

Instead of re-ranking just the new ones like last time, I rank here all the anime series I watched during the 2019 winter season – meaning, including the carryovers from fall 2018 and new seasons of old anime.  Here they are, from least to best…

The Magnificent Kotobuki
I stopped watching after four episodes.

'Glass' Is a Logical, Solid Culmination

Glass is the sequel to both Unbreakable and Split, and serves as the convergence and culmination of their respective storylines.

In it, David Dunn a.k.a. The Overseer (Bruce Willis), Kevin Wendell Crumb a.k.a. The Horde (James McAvoy), and Elijah Price a.k.a. Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) are all held together in a psychiatric hospital headed by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who asserts that the three don’t really have superpowers, but are simply suffering from a strong delusion that makes them believe that they do, and that there’s a reasonable, practical explanation to every instance in their lives that has given them the impression that they are superhuman.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

I Extremely ❤ 'Romance Is a Bonus Book'

Romance Is a Bonus Book tells the story of long-time best friends Kang Dan-i (Lee Na-young) and Cha Eun-ho (Lee Jong-suk).  When they were kids, the former saved the latter from being hit by a car, and was the one who got hit instead.  The injuries kept her away from school for a year, but while recuperating in the hospital, the grateful boy would constantly visit her.  From then on, the two have been like big sister and little brother.