Media Month in Review – May 2014

I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic.

Journey PS3 game

Movies:

Only anime-films this time around. Didn’t catch anything this month either. Hope to fix that with both films at home and at the cinema :-/

  • Wings of Honneamise – A film from the late 90s, feels like an attempt to speak of humanity’s woes, and how we can always be forgiven – even if we ruin Earth, we can still make it to a new clean planet, which we’ll destroy again, but on the other hand, if we just believe, we can fix it all. Definitely feels like an “end of the Cold War” sort of film, but one which presents both how we’ll keep ruining every other world as we ruined this one due to our pettiness, but also how if we but believe, it could be made better. I actually find it more than a tad boring, with only the last 30 minutes being of any real interest.

  • The Garden of Words – Another short and beautiful film by Makoto Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Centimeters Per Second, etc.) which takes a lot of what RomComs does, removes the comedy part, injects more drama, and serves it in a 45 minutes long package. It’s a beautiful, if sometimes sparse and austere film, and I could easily recommend it. I wrote a short piece on it here.

Anime:

  • Princess Tutu episodes 8-16 – I hoped to finish it this month, but I fell behind on the club I was watching it with. I need to make a concentrated effort to not let this very special show languish in my “uncompleted” pile. The first arc ended, but where it got us was the opening spot of the “main story”, and it’s rushing headlong to tragedy, with people knowing what is to come but being unable to stop it. Ah, beautiful tragedy, as the in-world-author desires.
  • Chihayafuru Complete (season 1 episodes 1-25, season 2 episodes 1-25+OVA) – I was looking for something to marathon, and I’ve had this on hand. And oh boy, I went through it all over 3.5 days. The beginning is incredibly emotional, and then it’s a sports-show aimed at a female demographic, with a heavy-focus on relationships. The second season spent a bit too much time on a single tournament, but hey, I still gobbled it up. I find I actually like female-aimed shows quite a bit more than many of the male-oriented ones, lately. Manga truly has it all, but anime is quite narrow in its focus, for the most part.
  • Haibane Renmei episodes 1-13 (Complete) – This story which is a big metaphor and exploration of loss, grief, depression, and community had been well-told, but left me a bit cold emotionally, especially as the delivery was quite subdued. A worthwhile experience. I’d suggest The Brothers Lionheart, my favourite children’s book for people who want to see my preferred take on the subject.
  • Blue Submarine No. 6 (Ao no 6-gou) episodes 1-4 (complete) – An OVA from 1998, feels more like a film. Alongside Wings of Honneamise, yet another entry on how humankind had faltered, and how it could overcome it by understanding and listening to different people. More than a bit similar to Apocalypse Now. Seems it was too busy with its moral to tell a compelling story. 1998-era CGI was god-awful.
  • And for the currently running shows: Akuma no Riddle 5-6, Black Bullet 5-8, Fairy Tail (2014) 5-9, Hitsugi no Chaika 5-8, Isshuukan Friends 5-8, JoJo S2 5-9, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei 5-9, Mekakucity Actors 4-8, Mushishi S2 5-7, Nisekoi 17-20, No Game, No Life 5-8, Ping Pong 4-8, Sidonia no Kishi 4-7.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve watched 130 full length episodes this month, compared to 68  month. Chihayafuru really buoyed my watch-count, considering it’s 51 episodes, almost all that I’ve watched last month. And also a couple of films. The currently airing shows I’m watching are for the most part competent and enjoyable, and several are really good, namely Mushishi, Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends) and Ping-Pong.

Television:

  • Pushing Daisies Episodes 3-4 – One of, if not my all time favourite TV show. I pop an episode when I need a mood boost.
  • The Big Bang Theory Season 6 Episode 4 – Trying to get back to watching it, but each season definitely starts weak, and man, the canned laughter is making it so hard.

Books/Comics:

  • Spice and Wolf Finishing Book 1 up to book 4 – Book 3 was great, to me. In it, in a series of 17 books, the couple finally admits to actually being a couple, and the story doesn’t end there! The 4th story is one not adapted in the anime, and I found it a bit weaker. Well, we’re going places. Definitely feels like a light novel, as I could see most “novels” being done in a third of a regular book, if even that. Hm.
  • Chihayafuru manga chapters 93-130 (current) – After finishing the anime, I read what was still available. Honestly, reading manga as it’s coming out is a pain :< I liked how they explained an obtuse phrase from the anime, it actually made a lot of sense. I hope anime-only watchers will get it explained as well.
  • I kill Giants TPB (Comic) – The 5 year anniversary edition had just come out, and I hadn’t read the series since it came out originally. Man, quite emotional, especially knowing what is coming. I really liked this. It’s a story of a nerdy girl in grade school, dealing with making friends and the hardships of life, as she imagines herself to be a mythical giant-slayer.

Games:

Journey PS3 Game

Screenshot of actual play.

  • Journey (PS3) – Wow. Wow. Does this go on one’s best video games list, or best movie list? It’s short, but it was an experience. Beautiful, emotional, haunting. I suggest everyone who can should go and play it, or watch a video playthrough on youtube. I definitely plan to do a write-up on it.
  • LUFTRAUSERS (PC/PS3/PSVita) – I fire it up now and then when I just want a simple game to throw myself into for a time.
  • One Finger Death Punch (PC) – Same as LUFTRAUSERS, mostly the survival mode when I want to unwind for a few minutes.
  • BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma (PS3) – The story-mode is massive. Tried to blitz through it for unlocking a character, and just hitting the “Next” button still took over 6 hours for 60%. Good thing I found out the fast-forward button at some point. Unlocking achievements, training with Noel, trying to master dragon-punch (forward, down, forward-down) on my fight-stick. Fun times!
  • Aerena: Clash of Champions (PC) – A free to play strategy game on Steam. A game usually takes 10-15 minutes. Lack of ability to play against friends and not all maps being equally interesting are an issue.
  • League of Legends (PC) – Playing some! Would’ve played a bit more if not for connection issues. Still, won a game as ADC Urgot with Soraka runes and masteries! No, I didn’t do much, but still felt good ;-)
  • Hand of Fate (Beta) (PC) – Backed the kickstarter, received a beta-key. It’s basically a rogue-like where you pick what sort of encounters and cards you will run into, but gameplay reminds one more of Diablo. It should be played with a controller, but it has some issues with reassigning keys. Well, first beta-build. I did feel I got better at it after a while, but put it on hold until they fix a bug that made me unable to obtain a specific advancement which is sort of critical.
  • BattleCON (Devastation of Indines) (Board Game) – 2 player “board game” simulating 2D fighting games. Very deep. Actually requires mastery, just like the aforementioned fighters! I liked it a lot, and there are so many characters, and so many modes. You could play this for years without it getting stale.
  • Jaipur (Board Game) – After playing BattleCon, my friend wanted something to help ease the mental strain, so we played this simple bidding game. I usually don’t like bidding games, but this was enjoyable enough. I wonder how much I’d like it if I kept playing it, and as many such games, playing it as a two-player game is completely different than playing it with 4 players – as your ability to plan ahead based on the current form of the board shrinks significantly.

So, anything from the past month you’d like to speak more of? A play, a book, something not necessarily anime-related, or which you hadn’t blogged about?

4 comments on “Media Month in Review – May 2014

  1. jimmydorry says:

    Chihayafuru <3

    You have convinced me to try out Princess Tutu.

    • Guy says:

      Princess Tutu is great. I am really hoping to finish it this month and not let it languish. At worst, I’ll get it done between seasons. I could just marathon it, but taking notes for it is actually satisfying. The problem when I start taking notes and can’t stop!

  2. Cassandra says:

    Someone who likes Pushing Daises! Too bad it got canceled later on. Enjoyed while it aired on television. The Big Bang Theory need someday catch up from the very beginning.

    I see you liked The Garden of Words thanks for the recommendation. I was sure it would be good. Continuing to be on my must-see list.

    • Guy says:

      Pushing Daisies was already very damaged by the time the 2nd season hit. Not just plot-wise (though Heroes 3 was hit even harder, plot-wise), but it lots all the forward momentum it had with its pre-airing and post-premier hype :(

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