Media Month in Review – December 2013

Well, I’m resurrecting my old “Media Consumption” posts. Turns out it might be hard to remember what I watched when otherwise, and it’s also an opportunity to write 2-3 sentences about something, when I might not have more to say (or don’t have the time for it). I did watch more anime than usual this month, for the sake of the “Top Anime Shows ending in 2013” list.

Movies:

  • Gravity – This movie is an experience, more than it is a plot-driven movie, and what little plot there is is focused on the very American message of the human triumph. Regardless, floating in space, seeing explosions while hearing nothing had been well-done. A good movie? Probably not. A great experience? Very much so. The use of silence had impressed me, as it always does when it’s used well.
  • Kara no Kyoukai / Garden of Sinners 1-4 – It’s interesting, to treat this as films. I’ve watched it as part of an anime watching club online, but fell behind, so hope to get one more film watched and an essay for it written every week or two. It’s a supernatural mystery thriller, it’s very artistic, very pretty. Very interesting.
  • Steins;Gate Movie (Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu) – This is a fan-service movie in the best sense of the word. We get more time with the characters we enjoy. In a manner very fitting with the show, we have a story quite similar to the one in the series, but now Kurisu is the one who has to go and save Okabe. It had some pacing issues, and it didn’t hit as hard as the series, but it only had 2 hours to do everything. The concept of memory alongside reminding us of stuff from the series at every turn made this a very welcome movie.

Anime:

  • Psycho-Pass – Sci-fi set in a very Phillip K. Dick-esque setting, especially similar to the one we see in Minority Report. There’s a solid sci-fi story here which explores the concept of utopias, leaders and choice, met with a detective police story, good action, and a better thriller. It’s fun, it’s good, but I wasn’t floored by it, a bit too much talking-heads and simply not being as meaty as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Expect an in-depth post.
  • Turning Girls – This is a short about 4 girls who are about to turn 30. For the record, I don’t care much for shorts, but the early episodes here really had me suffering. The art-style is lazy, the voice acting got on my nerves, and the characters/content made me suffer – it was like the 3 minutes of history in NouCome all over again. Episodes 4-6 I stopped thinking so hard and began laughing, they had some good moments there.
  • HenNeko (The Pervert Prince and the Stony Cat / Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko) – After marathoning Aku no Hana, I just needed something light. This is just a nice RomCom. Sadly, the premise means one of our main characters can’t express any emotions via facial expressions or her tone of voice, and while it does make for some cute moments, it harms the show as a whole. Cute stuff, some emotional moments, some good use of the premise. Nothing special, but it hit just the right spot when I needed it to.
  • Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil) – I don’t even know what to call this. Atmospheric thriller slice of life horror? It’s very oppressive, it’s very heavy. Not much happens, when makes things all that much more uncomfortable, for the constant fear of them happening. I might pick up the manga to follow the story from then on, as a bunch of it had apparently been translated to English already.
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure episodes 1-5 – I started watching it today. I’m not sure how I feel about marathoning it yet. Watching it in 4-6 episode spurts for now seems to work out for me. Yes, it’s very over the top. No, I don’t have anything else to say yet. I’m chuckling now and then, and I’m not too sure I care for the VAs picked for each character that much yet. Well, hopefully I’ll finish it this week.
  • White Album 2 episodes 1-5 – A romantic drama. The music is solid, the background music shows the VN origins and is grating on my nerves, heh. Still, well made enough, should be done by next month’s post.
  • Sword Art Online Extra Edition – Mostly a recap episode, and a bit of new content. The tears hit, but not as much as they did others, because having rewatched most of these sequences so many times, I already know them by heart. Yuki Kaijura‘s music was good as ever, and the single new piece I heard was great. It had quite a bit of fan-service, and the preview of second season also had a bunch. I hope they tone it down, the books didn’t have that much, and the first half of the first season was popular enough without it – they try too hard, and it’s only biting them in the ass, as far as I am concerned.
  • And for the currently running shows: Valvrave the Liberator 20-24, Outbreak Company 9, Tokyo Ravens 9-12, Samurai Flamenco 9-11, Kill la Kill 10-12, Nagi no Asukara 10-13, Kyousogiga 7-10, Kyoukai no Kanata 10-12, Gingitsune 9-12, and Pupipo! 1-2.

Television:

  • Pushing Daisies Episode 2 – This is probably my all-time favourite western TV show. I just pop an episode in when I feel slightly down, and it does its magic.

Books:

  • 1984, by George Orwell 2/3rds done – I’ve once tried to read it in Hebrew, but aside from NewSpeak being butchered, the translation had been abominable. Reading it now for the first time in English, it’s really giving me a lot to think about, which is probably unsurprising.
  • Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut – This is the second book by Kurt Vonnegut I’ve read, the other one being Slaughterhouse-Five. The level of author insert, and the admittance of sadness, he’s basically outright saying in this book all the thoughts I’ve had after reading the first book – he’s in serious need of a hug, and like in a dream, all the characters in his books are basically him. I might have more to say about it in a longer post, but that’s basically it. It’s hard to call these books “great”, but they probably are. Also, the flat-out attack on Ayn Rand’s Objectivism in the early pages, heh.
  • Westmark, by Lloyd Alexander – The Chronicles of Prydain is one of my favourite series, from my childhood. After Lloyd Alexander died, I looked what else of his to read, and the Westmark trilogy came highly recommended. It’s a very short book, reminding me how authors used to do so much with so short a space. The following books are out of print, but I ordered the second used and it should hopefully arrive soon. I had fun, I teared up. Wish they simply released this as an omnibus.

Video Games:

  • Hearthstone – I’ve played a whole bunch of this game, but the lack of strategic depth got to me at some point, actually. I prefer Magic: the Gathering with the ability to have surprises. Too often people kill the other outright in one turn, and early momentum is really hard to stop.
  • League of Legends – This takes more time and dedication, but it’s also more fulfilling. I didn’t play much, but am slowly easing my way back into this game.
  • Risk of Rain – Roguelike, dunno, something about it just attracts me less, not a huge fan, but gave it some hours. Gifted this by a friend.
  • Eldritch – First person rogue-like with Lovecraft touches. It was ok I guess? Not sure it’s my thing. Eh. Got it on the Steam sale.
  • Papers, Please – This game feels like work, which is intended. It might be time to pull my Atelier Totori Plus review, and tie it with this one, and World of Warcraft, and Steam, for some mega-post about grinding, and game-work, hm.
  • Poker Night 2 – I’ve purchased it some time ago, finally played it. My first time playing Texas hold’em poker and Omaha hold’em, only against AI, but I finally know how to play, and got to see just how silly I am. I’ve actually played it for about 12 hours, and had a whole bunch of fun. Wish I could fast-forward/skip the  NPC interactions – they were good, but I’ve heard it all by now so I’d like to just get on with the game and unlock my final achievement ;)
  • Steam Marines – Party roguelike, early access on Steam, purchased during the sale. It feels half-baked, and my main annoyance with it is running out of action points too early, and seeing who does what, etc. Basically, the UI is annoying, it’s hard to see what’s going on, which for a turn-based game is sort of perplexing. Hopefully they fix it.
  • Surgeon Simulator – I couldn’t do a heart transplant! I’ll probably try again in the future ;_;
  • PixelJunk Eden – The music is nice. It sort of is one of those games you play less for the game and more for the atmospheric chill it induces. I could see this game being a good PS Vita game, where you put in the earphones and just tune the world out. Nothing really commands you to get back to the game, but that’s part of the point, I guess.

I do need to watch The Big Bang Theory, and Marvel Agents of Shield and Almost Human are both calling my name. I also need to play some more Playstation Vita games, but we’ll see. This month looks to be busy with school/work stuff, so maybe February.

So, how do you like this format, of short opinions on a variety of things, and the fact it helps you remember them? :)

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