Media Month in Review – August 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. Highlights this month: Too much Hearthstone, several Marvelverse films, films from my childhood, and 143 episodes of Hunter x Hunter (2011)!

Movies:

Jumanji movie

  • Matilda – I probably haven’t watched this film since 1998, at the latest. This film shows its warts. While the first 10-15 minutes where we see Matilda growing up with just the narrator to guide us are pretty magical, the acting in this film isn’t the best, and at some points you can see the director went too wild with the “Children Movie silliness”, such as when the schoolkids get rid of Ms. Trunchbull. Still, it was an enjoyable view.
  • Jumanji – I’ve probably watched this last around 2001. I’ve meant to watch it a week before Robin Williams died, but I ended up watching it only after. This film isn’t an adventure film, holy shit but is it a horror film! When that vine went for Peter? It gave me flashbacks to The Exorcist, and that film had me run out of the room when I watched it in the 5th grade… I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Well-acted, and fun. Also, only when I went to IMDB did I realize the Hunter going after Alan was acted by the same actor who portrayed his father, similar to how in Peter Pan, the Darling family father also plays the role of Captain Hook.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – I’ve had a lot of fun watching it! It was a silly film, with silly lines, and silly action. I chuckled and laughed and enjoyed turning my brain off for a bit. Also, I kept waiting for “The Guardians of the Galaxy” to appear, which I was sure would be The Green Lantern Corps, which are of course in DC-verse. Still, kept waiting for someone serious to come and save the universe, not our bunch of incompetent walking shticks. Rocket and Groot were really great. Especially Rocket.

  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier – This was such an American film, ever since Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman, I see it everywhere. I reiterate it because my friend said it’s about the Edward Snowden stuff, but didn’t these worries also air post-NSA in the post-September 11 era? Well, aside from all those fears on freedom of speech, the action in this film was meaty. It reminded me of The Bourne trilogy in terms of how solid, how impactful the punches were. It was a joy to watch. The shmultzy bits at the end were a bit over the top for me, but again, what I expect from a mainstream Hollywood film.
  • Thor 2: The Dark World – My friend and I talked after watching this film together, because unlike Captain America 2, the action here was wholly unsatisfying. There’s something about all the leaping and flying that just make fisticuffs look completely ephemeral and unimportant. Also, this film’s story left absolutely no impact on me, it was a whole lot of nothing. No emotional depth, no characters… just boring.

Anime:

Hunter x Hunter (2011) anime - Gon and Killua

  • Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World episodes 1-4 – Wanted to watch and write 3-5 episodes a week, but it took a lot out of me. Will I keep watching? Yes, will I keep doing write-ups? I hope. It’s like Gulliver’s Travels, there’s just so many thoughts to think after this. You can read my thoughts here, for these episodes.
  • Hunter x Hunter (2011) episodes 1-143 – The plan was to watch up to 3 episodes a day, so I’d catch up with the penultimate episode 147 which airs next week. Instead I ended up watching the first 136 episodes in 13 days. It’s nice, and it’s good, but Fairy Tail is still my favourite long-running shounen, because I’m more invested in the characters there, and in the moments of “cool”. There’s a lot to discuss about Hunter x Hunter though, and I might do some of it in the weeks to come.
  • Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (“Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl” is the English name, literally “Electrowave Girl and the Youthful Boy”) episodes 1-9 – Watched with an anime-club, it’s sort of tiring. It’s a so-called Harem RomCom, but as I recently spoke about, who’s the girl he’ll end up with is all but obvious from the get-go. It also drags its time, and spends too much time on being silly and stupid in the Shinbo sort-of-style where time just goes by, and it’s not that pleasant.
  • Durarara!! episodes 1-12 “skip-watching” – Whenever people mention Durarara!! I get the urge to watch it, because it just makes me feel so connected to the world, and fills me with exuberance. So someone mentioned it, so I watched most of the first half, skipping some moments, and the 7th episode, which I’ve watched half a dozen times, as it’s my favourite. Still felt great.
  • Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) episodes 1-6 – Another series watched with an anime-club. I’ve watched the first 9 episodes back when it aired, in 2011. A beautiful series, a story about someone who adopts an orphaned relative, and how they both grow up together. Touching, and each episode covers quite a lot of content. I really like the artistic style as well.
  • Inferno Cop episodes 1-13 (Complete) – Dumb, stupid, unexciting, not-funny, and not interesting. It’s a quality of experience you’d get from a bunch of 2nd graders running an ad-lib. Not recommended. Only upside is that the episodes were very short, and I still had to take a break in the middle.
  • Pupipo! episodes 13-15 – It was a nice little series. Completely didn’t see the ending. Considering it was only 6 minutes, there wasn’t really a reason to postpone this for several months.
  • Seasonal anime – Various currently airing shows, minus the dropped series and those which ended: Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2Wei!, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (The Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Sabagebu!, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance).

In case you’re wondering, I’ve watched 217 full length episodes, and 16 “shorts” episodes this month, compared to 110 full-length episodes, and 3 “shorts” last month, and around 70 most months. Yes, I’ve watched 217 full length episodes, holy shit!

Games:

  • Hearthstone – I keep thinking I’ll play for a few minutes, but the “just one more game” is too strong. If I were planning to play for 2-3 hours as I often end up doing, I’d play a game I like more, like Tales of Xillia, which ended up not being played due to Hearthstone. Definitely going to cut down on my Hearthstone time again, might even uninstall.
  • League of Legends – Played a couple of games, nothing much. Twisted Treelines, in hope to get 3v3 Gold for this season.
  • Android: Netrunner (“Boardgame”) – Got to play this on two different occasions with two different people! Still relatively mentally exhausting. Should start playing with decks I’ve customized myself from the next time, at least with one person with whom I’ve played. For the other, it was the first time playing the game.
  • One Finger Death Punch – I launch it up now and then for the endless survival mode. It’s fun!

Books/Comics:

  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga, by Hayao Miyazaki, volumes 1-4 – Nausicaa is a stand-out series. The film reaches up towards the end of the 2nd volume, out of 7, but from there the story keeps going, much more than just a story of one girl who shows up, and everything turns out well. On a story-level, it’s not amazing, but I like the characters, and it weaves a story of war, and necessity, and of humanity. The art and the page composition is flat-out gorgeous.
  • Thud, a Discworld novel, by Terry Pratchett – I decided to read some of my favourite sequences in the book again, and just ended up reading it in its entirety. Samuel Vimes is such a splendid character.

Television:

  • The Legend of Korra Book 3: Change, Episodes 9-13 – Aww, the season is over! But the 4th season is right around the corner, apparently. The last few episodes had a lot of really cool bending fights, cool sequences, well-directed, and flowed well. Also, that finale, I really didn’t see it coming, and it actually left an impression. I’m just sad it was so short, I feel this season could’ve easily contained more episodes. At least we got to see more of the world again, like in Avatar: the Last Airbender.
  • Pushing Daisies Episode 6 – When I feel down, I watch an episode. Actually felt down a lot more than that. Should’ve probably watched more episodes of this great series.

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?

12 comments on “Media Month in Review – August 2014

  1. Artemis says:

    I think this season’s Korra has been my favourite of the three so far. I enjoyed all of them of course, but Book 3 feels the most sophisticated to me in terms of general storytelling. I also really love that it ends on such an ambiguous note.

    • Guy says:

      Yes, definitely my favourite, and like you, I’ve enjoyed all 3. On an emotional level, I’ve enjoyed the ending to S1 more, especially with the music that played, it just such a heart-string-tugging scene. But this one, this one actually surprised me, and felt so somber.

      As for the season itself, I really liked we had explored places in the world again, just traveling. It did feel that as a result the “main plot” was sort of put aside and then somewhat rushed in the end, but that’s part of what made The Last Airbender so worthwhile.

      Also, corrected that typo and deleted the extra comment :)

      • Artemis says:

        The conclusion to Book 3 was definitely somber. I’m all for happy endings, but the conclusion to both Book 1 and 2 felt a little too neat, so I was glad for the contrast with 3.

  2. iblessall says:

    Okay, can you explain to me just…how?

    • Guy says:

      Technically, I used to watch 24-26 episode series in one go all the time years ago, in one day, which can be had during a weekend, or how in May during schoolyear I’ve watched Chihayafuru in 4 days. I’ve watched 175 episodes of Fairy Tail over 3 weeks while working full-time and going to school as well.

      It can be done, if you decide to do so. 136 episodes in two weeks of downtime is modest for me. I did say I much prefer marathoning shows, right?

      • ChazzU says:

        Do you get a decent nights rest? I’m working a vacation job working at a food processing factory doing the exact same thing as regular employees do over there, working in shifts. And I can’t be arsed to watch anything that requires investment or even play a game of League.

        Seriously, do you just not need a lot of sleep or does the excitement kill any sort of desire to sleep you feel? :p

        • Guy says:

          My sleep schedule is currently messed up, but my body won’t let me sleep less than 8 hours. Are they good 8 hours? Maybe, but I get enough.

          And I need a lot of sleep, though over the years I’ve gotten used to barely getting any :p

  3. I was thinking of starting Hunter x Hunter as all my friends adore the manga and anime series but I’m still a bit hesitant at starting another 100+ episode shounen series. My first was Naruto which I dropped 20-30 episodes in because of how fake the stakes seemed and how any tension built up in the series usually ended up in a disappointing buzz kill. My second was actually Fairy Tail which I really fell in love with for the first 50~ episodes but soon after grew disillusioned and began to nitpick on small things like how arcs seemed to grow repetitive and fights seemed too predictable before ultimately dropping it around episode 60.

    So my question is, how similar is Hunter x Hunter to these Shounens? Having watched around 136 episodes in 13 days, I’m going to go on a limb here and say that you enjoyed the series. But was it because of its Shouneny aspects or something else? I realize you’re doing a full write up about it later but I was wondering if you could give me a short opinion on why you’re enjoying it and if you would recommend it to someone who is not a very avid fan of long running shounen shows.

    • Guy says:

      I really like shounen series. I’ve watched Fairy Tail, minus the filler episodes (roughly 30) in 3 weeks, while working full time.

      I know plenty of people who don’t like shounens who like Hunter x Hunter, or rather, people who say they don’t like shounen, but considering they too used to watch Bleach/Naruto/X, they do, or want to.

      I think it’s still pretty shouneny, especially for the first 60 episodes or so. I actually like Fairy Tail better, even if some aspects of Hunter x Hunter are better. Dunno. I’m not sure whether it offers anything unique before Chimera Ants arc, which begins at episode 76, lasts 60 episodes, and could be 2-3 series of its own, sort of how Eureka 7 feels.

  4. On a totally related note have you tried Ascension yet on League? It’s a pretty crazy but fun game mode that revolves around kills, 3 easily capturable objectives and slaying the central Baron-esque Ascended Xerath in the center.

    Oh yea what’s your league IGN? It’d be really cool to play a round of Ascension with you, if you have the time (bbbaka :P).

    • Guy says:

      I’ve played a whole bunch of Ascension, I think my win-loss ratio is roughly 12-2 on my main account, and 2-0 on a smurf on another server. Got the perfect Ascension icon on both. As someone who mainly played Dominion, it was coming back home.

      And no, the game-mode does not revolve around kills. Had 2-3 games where the enemy team surrendered when they were 60 points behind and only ~5 kills behind.

      My in game name is DiscworldDeath, but we’ve went over this before, I play mostly on EUW :P

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