Media Month in Review – May-October 2015 – Books (And Manga/LNs)

I had the May post in draft for a long while, then I’ve been busy since, so let’s have a several months’ worth of wrap-up again. Only books this time, cause writing it took far too long as is, and I’ve read so much recently that it deserves its own space.

Books/Comics:

The Windup Girl - Paolo BacigalupiThe Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi – This book had a better starting position than many other near-future sci-fi books I’ve read simply because the culture it describes is already “ever so slightly alien” to me in its present form. I don’t know a whole lot about many South-East Asian countries, let alone about their daily lives. Thai near-future sci-fi, food shortages, a bevvy of points of view. This was a well-written book. It wasn’t really about the sci-fi and more about the lived-in experience, which the book got across very well, including the rising tensions, the terror of riots, and other such “fun stuff”. It truly did feel like peering into another fully-formed culture. Though Thailand and not Vietnam, it did remind me of some media revolving around the Vietnam War, in terms of atmosphere, that tense “peace” at times.

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Media Months in Review – September 2014 – February 2015 – Games and Books

The intention is to post these monthly. Since I haven’t posted these in a while though, I’m going to split the last half year’s media consumption post into several parts. This one will focus on games(video games, board games, card games), and books (also manga and comics). I’ll give a paragraph or so for every show I have what to say of.

Video Games:

Diablo 3 4 Furnaces

Diablo 3 is all about the loot. Taken during patch 2.1.1, those 4 Furnaces, damn.

Diablo 3 – The big elephant in the room. I’ve spent over 800 hours on the game over the recent months. It had consumed me, at least for the first 2-3 months, where every single free moment of my time was spent on it. I barely watched anime, even. The drive for loot was strong. I’m now slowly winding down my time with it. Both because the gameplay isn’t all that good, and because I realize the only goal you play it for is to get items that make you faster at obtaining items. The “end-game” content is truly lacking, and the only thing worse than the end-game content is pre-end-game content, which just feels bad. Though the basic leveling in terms of levels feels good.

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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.

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Media Month in Review – July 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.

Games:

Tales of Xillia

  • BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma – Played some more in the beginning of the month, then shelved it in order to play the following game:
  • Tales of Xillia – I finally, a year down the line, began playing my Day 1 Edition, which was on sale for half-price about half a year after day 1… Well, I wanted to finish it before ToX 2 came out, to see if I want to get it. I really like it, it’s a good action-RPG that has good action, and solid RPG, after the snooze-fest that Final Fantasy X’s first 12 hours were. I poured in 15 hours or so, but then got distracted. I want to play, but I keep putting it off, and then it’s 1 AM, and I know it’d end up 5 am if I were to start playing it at 1 AM, and then it ends up 5 AM without me playing it anyway… But I’m enjoying it quite a bit. The English dub is good, though I do wish I could have the Japanese dub as well. No real reason not to, right? This is also my first Tales game.

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Fairy Tail – Overall Most Well Rounded Endless Shonen Show

The cover of the first volume of Fairy Tail as...

The cover of the first volume of Fairy Tail(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bleach, Naruto, Gintama, One Piece, Fairy Tail – long-running shonen shows that have drawn many thousands of viewers, they are based on long-running manga that is still running, we’re talking over a decade. There’s a lot of money in these shows, and as such they keep them running though often there is no real content to show – so things get paced poorly (see my post on Naruto), and they add a lot of original content that’s usually a lot poorer than the original content (called “Filler”). But it keeps going on, because we enjoy watching those shows.

A month ago I’ve began watching Fairy Tail, and over two and  a half weeks I’ve watched all of it (minus the filler episodes), aside from how silly the first episode was – which actually filled me with concern that I won’t like the show, it was just too silly and random – I’ve really enjoyed this show. I am sure that it might not be the favourite show of anyone, but I still think that out of the shows above, it’s the most well rounded one, and might be the best as well.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. I expect no spoilers in this post.)

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Domu – Horror is Atmosphere, not Story

I’ve had this manga book, Domu: A Child’s Dream, on my shelf for around 2-3 years, and I’ve found myself looking for something to read, my memory reminded me of Domu and where it was on my shelves (even though my shelves look like this, I know where all my books are!). So I picked it up, and a couple of hours later it was done. And I have some things to say, and this is my blog, so say them I shall!

(Guy’s Note: Well, Hobby Search not loading its pages in English means the “Figure Friday” of sorts post I was meaning to make will be postponed for sometime during the week (or next Friday).)

For those who don’t know, Domu is an anime written by Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira, and had been written (and serialized) between 1980 and 1982. I’ve read the graphic novel version translated by Dark Horse, unsurprisingly. The story follows an accursed housing block in Japan. Accursed you ask? There’s an astonishingly high number of deaths and disappearances around the block, and they send detectives to investigate the matter. And things escalate into a psychic duel.
And this covers the general plot of the story, which you could probably find out online with minor poking.
(This is a “Things I Like” post, and as such covers more my thoughts, and is less focused as an actual bona fide review. There will be a LOT of spoilers in this post.)

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Scott Pilgrim – The Awesome Zeitgeist.

Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim against the world. A comic book released in the form of books, 5 released and 6 total planned, by Bryan Lee O’Malley.  Well, there’s a movie now so I’m sure more people will hear of it, and hopefully the creator will also earn more money. It’s not like independent comic writers (comic sold through Oni Press, which houses a lot of independent and manga publications) are known for the piles of money they swim in.

Anyway, it may very well be that Scott Pilgrim is a reflection of the generation that I am a member of, the “Y Generation”, or in the case is, which Scott Pilgrim makes quite convincing, the “Yeah! Generation.” You see, Scott Pilgrim feels to me like an invention that hails in spirit from Seattle, though it’s actually Canada, but let us assume that it is Seattle’s spirit for the moment, the city that had brought us Grunge, the city that had brought has Starbucks. In other words, it’s a hipster city. I have hipster friends who live in Seattle or in its environs and whom I can think of as “Seattleans” in my mind – even though I’ve never actually been to Seattle myself.

So Scott Pilgrim against the world. The plot as there may be is that Scott falls in love with this girl called Ramona (note, it’s been two-three years since I’ve read any Scott Pilgrim). But there’s a problem, Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends, all seven of them. What follows is a mocking super-hero-esque series of fights where the hipster, broke, slacker Scott Pilgrim is someone we (IIRC)  find out to have never lost a fight, and who is “too cool for school”.

Note: It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read Scott Pilgrim, so on one hand consider it a review of my memory of the comic, and on the other, I use it as a stepping stone to speak of a wider issue. Thank you.

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