Thursday, November 27, 2014

Five of the most terrifying anime/manga characters in recent pop culture

Five Terrifying Anime/Manga Characters From Recent Shows Part Two: One Piece, Doflamingo

Oh, Doffy, Doffy - where do I begin?

It should be obvious but MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ONE PIECE

I think currently Donquixote Doflamingo has to be one of the greatest villians of all fictional history, or at least he's definitely on the top ten list, especially when considering recent chapters.

In the world of One Piece the new age is defined by the pirates who roam the seas searching for treasure, status, freedom and fame. Of those pirates Doflamingo has made a name for himself by not only becoming a warlord for the Marines, but overtaking an entire country as it's king

His is a long history of manipulation, terror and violence.

Honestly, Doflamingo is one of the most nuanced, well-written complex villians I've come across since... I don't even know.

On the one hand, dude's fucking evil. No question, no doubt, he is sadistic, has a god-complex, is violent, cruel, vindictive, cold, and more than willing to deal out damage to man, woman or child.

Let's take a laundry list of the things we know he's done past and present; he murdered his father, started a pirate gang, accepted/allowed children into his mafia-style pirate family and actively encouraged them to be as ruthless and cruel as he is, lied, cheated, stole, murdered his way to the top of the underworld, murdered his own blood brother, screwed countless lives over, KIDNAPPED CHILDREN WITH THE EXPRESS PURPOSE TO EXPERIMENT ON AND KILL THEM, took over a country through trickery and violence and has oppressed/slaughtered countless of lives.

His personality is that of someone who actively enjoys and even gets off on psychologically fucking with people in the cruelest ways possible, as evidenced by shooting Law. Not only is that the exact same way he executed his brother and Law's savior but he used LEAD BULLETS in reference to Law's traumatic childhood with dealing with the Amber Lead Syndrome - an extra twist of the knife to make his brutal beating that much more brutal. Seriously, Doffy, there is such a thing as too much.

Holy shit, that's a lot for one person.

HOWEVER, instead of giving us a cardboard cutout villian Oda-sensei threw in some complex background elements that almost, almost make you sympathize with him.

Doflamingo came from an extremely privileged background as a Celestrial Dragon - a status in the world of One Piece that means they are considered gods and above human beings.

His father gave up the title and wanted to live as a normal human, giving up everything and demonstrating empathy and compassion (rare for a Celestrial Dragon)

however he made a huge mistake and soon his family was torn apart by the mobs of people who had suffered at the hands of the Celestrial Dragons.

Doffy was nearly crucified, lived in squalor and terror, was beaten and hunted during his childhood.

It doesn't excuse ANY of the things he's done but it makes him more complex then just 'I'm evil!'

Unlike any other villian we've come across in One Piece he has shown that on some level he actually cares for his close crew-mates and has said himself, 'you are my only family in this world.'

Granted, he will still willingly sacrifice them for his cause but he has shown to have remorse - something Crocodile NEVER showed.

In return, it has been shown that his closest 'family' members gladly will thrown their lives down for their master. In a way, it's amost reminiscent of a cult-like mentality, such is his charisma and intelligence.

Therefore, I give you Donquixote Doflamingo - crazy, charismastic, fascinating psychopath villian whom I can't wait to see fall by the hands of Luffy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 23: Smile/Stokess District Raid Part 1

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is unique and phenomenal storytelling which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Episode 23: Smile/Stokess District Raid Part 1

The last two episodes have been super heavy on the losses but finally, it is time. Time for the big question to be answered WHO IS THE FEMALE TITAN?

Hold on to your butts because this flashback is going to spoil it all for you.

On a cold crisp morning, somewhere within the Walls a tough young girl practices her fighting technique relentlessly, as her father encourages her.

Annie, from a young age, is being trained for…something. Trained tirelessly, mercilessly to fight.

The episode begins with the distinct Roman profile of Annie as she awakes in the Military Police barracks. Does that profile look familiar?

This is life in the Military Police; a loosely held together organization that is mostly corrupt. Her comrades are the grasping, sneaky sort looking for an easy life.

Ha, really kind of like the Slytherins.

Their superiors are a weak, selfish lot and hand off assignments to the recruits to do, saying that if they screw up THEY are the ones that are going to pay for their officer’s mistakes. Nice.

Then they go back to playing poker.

This is an episode that looks closer at Annie and really shows her to be a complex person.

If it isn’t REALLY REAALLY obvious by now, yes Annie is the Female Titan. BUT.

She is a sympathetic villain.

She is shown to have empathy, even when it’s probably going against orders. She did NOT kill Armin when she probably should have, and will come to regret it, as we will soon find out. It’s obvious she feels something towards Armin, probably not romantic feelings but friendship? Admiration? Something that draws her to him and you can see why, Armin is very compassionate, smart, has trustworthy companions, and is not powerful but powerful in his own way with analysis and tactics and I think she admires that.

It takes a hell of a lot of courage to be ‘weak’ but put yourself into danger knowing you aren’t Hercules.

Maybe she wishes she had the freedom to be like Armin.

It is very obvious that something very powerful is driving her. Why has she decided to go against the ‘good’ guys? What do we not know here?

I don’t think she’s a bad person. I think she’s a soldier and she has carried out her duty on the battlefield. Levi’s Squad was a part of that battlefield and ask anybody who has been in a war, they will tell you it is you or it is them. Kill or be killed, and that’s no joke.

However, there is no denying that she took pleasure in massacring those soldiers. She strikes me as an extraordinary predator; the thrill of the hunt and the taste of blood also drives her.

Annie is a soldier with a purpose that borders on fanaticism and we still know nothing about what drives the Titans because this is all caught up in that.

So, as Annie is doing guard duty in the district of Stokess who should come out of the shadows but Armin!

He, Eren and Mikasa are lurking in the shadows and tell Annie that they need to get Erin out of the district ASAP because the Military is looking to dissect him (true).

She’s reluctant, she doesn’t want to help him but remember what I said about Armin and his tactics? He deftly maneuvers her into a position to where she can’t refuse, using to what is referred to as a ‘guilt’ trip.

She agrees BUT as she does she slides on a metal band over her finger. Ohh, snap with the foreshadowing.

So the foursome are now wandering the backstreets ‘escaping’ while Annie asks some very… leading questions that are getting harder and harder to answer without tipping the fact that, yea, Armin is going to betray her. I mean that ironically because Annie is the mole in the military but…

Armin stops before a set of stairs, leading down to an underground passage and Annie stops cold.

She refuses to go down and THAT is suspicious.

This whole, ‘Annie, help us escape!’ spiel was actually to confirm or deny that Annie is, indeed, the traitor who killed the specimen Titans and slaughtered her way through the Scouting Corps to get to Eren.

And it’s becoming abundantly clear that their former comrade Annie is starting to appear suspicious all over.

She suspected a setup from the beginning, which goes to show how damned sharp she is.

Eren, in his inestimable way, refuses to believe that she would betray them and screams at her to get into the tunnel, thus proving her innocence. Why did they choose a tunnel? It would be the one place where a Titan would not have an advantage, and she knows it.

Armin is in a sort of denial himself; realistically he knows that yes, the traitor is Annie, she has Marco’s gear which means she killed him, but doesn’t want to believe someone who trained and fought with him could kill him (and his friends)

That would be a difficult thing to reconciliate.

By now all parties realize the truth, and what danger they are in and Annie… laughs.

She laughs and says, even for a moment she was glad she could be a ‘good person’ for Armin. But now it’s time for her be a soldier.

Mikasa has had enough – her and Annie are actually very alike. Mikasa knows that if you don’t kill the enemy your friends will die and she is ready to go after Annie, former comrade or not.

If you take careful notice of the streets around the foursome you will realize that there has been nobody around for some time now. As soon as Armin gives the signal undercover agents (Scouting? Military? Don’t know) come swarming out and grab Annie before she can bite herself.

Remember how damn resourceful and smart Annie is?

Yeah, that ring that she put on earlier has a hidden thorn inside of it. It’s too late, Annie becomes the Female Titan.

Wizard Con has slightly killed me so today's Attack on Titan is going to be a little late

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Something New: Five of the most terrifying anime/manga characters in recent pop culture

So I've been busy; there's work, there's the Wizard Con this weekend, there's insane hours trying to finish my cosplay (and YES I almost regret my choice in making a Lolita skirt that has fucking thirty different skirt parts alone) so I haven't been to the library, I haven't been reading as many new (to me) sci-fi and fantasy books, AND I've been writing my own original fiction with hopes of publishing. So. Busy. So for a bit let's do:

Five Terrifying Anime/Manga Characters From Recent Shows Part One: Akame ga Kill: Seryu

Yea, her.

Let's do a bit of background on Akame ga Kill. It's currently about twenty episodes in and I've watched the majority of them with the feeling of... say, watching a car crash. Hm. How to describe it...

This show is a shounen, action, everybody dies kind of anime. It's a little too much for me to take seriously so I didn't do a review about it earlier, but I WOULD like to talk about one of the characters as the most TERRIFYING thing I've run across in some time. So this kingdom's capital is corrupt as fuck. Young Tatsumi is our hero who travels from a tiny village to the capital for...damn, I forget why. Food, money, to lend out his sword skills, bla bla bla I forget.

But his comrades are killed horrifically by the adorable rich girl child of a family who took him in (with the purpose of killing him and selling his skin or some shit like that) that kind of gives the tone for the story. This is an anime of extremes. Extreme good and bad, extreme comedy and seriousness and that's why I didn't bother reviewing it. We go from a complete bloodbath (and I mean graphic, fucked-up things like having your weird dog/creature/pet EAT your goddamned enemies corpses then BRAG ABOUT IT later on) to cutesy gag humor 0.2 seconds later.

WAY too many knee-jerk, jumping around plot twists that includes killing off the main cast and over-the-top graphic violence. NOBODY is safe (except for I assume, shounen boy Tatsumi, because he's being groomed as the Savior/Hero of the tale) and I don't like getting attached to characters only to have them BRUTALLY slaughtered off. Then the weird comedy routine shortly after. It's just... jerking the viewer around too much.

So we have Night Raid; 'bad guy' assassin's extraordinaire who are actually good and here to save the Capitol and the Jeagers - who are 'justice' but hoooly shit are they fucked up and have hobbies like torture and mutilation.

Ms. Seryu is a young girl who has joined the Jeager's in hopes of vanquishing evil. This is an interesting way to make a character. She's crazy. Seriously, bat fuck crazy, off her chain, C.R.A.Z.Y

She has no ability to see anything other than Black and White. Obey the laws, you are good. Pick up a coin off the street and you are BAD, and she will literally rip your arms off while screaming JUSTICE IS SEEERRVVVEEED and then set your body on fire.

Plus, she had a bad case of Crazy Eyes. That never bodes well.

She has no nuance, no mental brakes, as it were. She can't seem to see the utterly corrupt nature of the Capitol she is serving.

In fact, when another character brings up the fact that her masters are fucking corrupt as hell and she is completely denies the possibility that what she does is wrong.

She starts off the series as a soldier trained with guns and close combat and her Imperial Arms (special, magical weapons) is an adorable looking dog:

Who becomes a literal monster

which is very reflective of the girl herself.

Seryu wins hands down for being one of the most fucked up characters I've come across in some time. Her complete lack of reality, empathy, nuance, morals (concerning 'justice' which there doesn't seem to be any) and just bug-fuck crazy personality means she has made my list of Terrifying Characters.

I've got about three definite characters but does anybody have one they would like to add? Give me some names!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 22 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is unique and phenomenal storytelling which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Episode 22: The Vanquished/The 57th Expedition Part 6

Whew, take a deep breath. The last episode was harsh stuff; the Levi Squad was wiped out in an instant, brutally, without mercy and with much squishiness.

Eren lost his shit (understandably) and found out that fighting with rage is a surefire way to lose. And he lost.

Levi and Mikasa have arrived JUST in time to witness Eren’s abduction – will they make it in time?!

Wow, what every Titan fan has been waiting for; the two monsters of the Scouting Corps teaming up to bring down the most terrifying Titan encountered to date. Ohhh, let’s DO this thing!

The Female Titan is finally showing signs of fatigue and HOLY GOD can we talk about what a POWERHOUSE she is? It makes me wonder if she is an anomaly, even amongst her own kind or are other Titans just as psychotically strong, flexible, quick-minded and ruthless?

Levi and Mikasa hang back, discussing strategy and even if Eren is alive anymore. Mikasa, out of desperation, denial or all of the above, says YES he’s alive. The Female Titan clearly has a purpose with taking him and Levi agrees they need to get him back.

Mikasa has a moment of over-protective mama-bearNESS and chews out Levi for not safeguarding Eren more effectively.

Damn I love that girl. Levi doesn’t seem to really care but recognizes her as one of Eren’s comrades at the trial and uses her devotion to him to needle her into proactive action.

This sort of feeds into the belief that Levi is definitely an anti-hero. Using a high stress situation and her obvious emotional attachment to manipulate her into doing what he wants is, to say the least, slightly sketchy, even if it IS effective in a battle scenario.

Levi is going to take the high ground while Mikasa acts as a distraction.

Here we go; Levi closes the distance to the Female Titan and in a fraction of a second she tries to turn the table on him by throwing a wild haymaker that would have (SHOULD have) flattened him if he weren’t a super soldier.

If there was one scene in the entire series that I would recommend watching THIS IS IT. Hell, I think I might link it on here because that fight is breathtakingly stunning and terrifying.

Levi is a fucking MONSTER (all five feet of him) and rips her up like a goddamned can opener with a vendetta. You can’t even see him move, he’s so fast.

He makes it look so EASY, in moments he’s got her on the ropes and is TEARING the Female Titan apart.

Mikasa watches in astonishment BUT! Just as the Female Titan is backed against a tree she has the brilliant plan to ATTACK!! Unknowing how crafty the Female Titan is and how that’s exactly the same way the Levi Squad just got wiped out.

Mikasa very nearly becomes Titan fodder but Levi suspected something up and pushes Mikasa out of the way at the expense of his body; the force of the blow he warded off with his legs snaps, or fractures his ankle. He takes the moment to saw open the Female Titans jaw muscles and an icky, covered in goo Eren pops out like the grossest slot machine prize EVER.

I think Levi would agree with me.

Instead of attacking a wounded and worn down Female Titan Levi says, no, let’s get the hell out of here, we have Eren and Mikasa reluctantly agrees.

Eerily, as Levi looks back, the Female Titan lays slumped against the tree, tears rolling down her face.

Hmmmm.

This whole Female Titan debauticle raises even more questions about…well.. everything. How the Titans work, WHY they are wiping out humanity, how the power is structured behind the Walls. WHAT’S IN EREN’S BASEMENT!!?? Just, so many questions.

As for the rest of the episode, hmmm…. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I feel as though these next scenes were added so I’m not really going to include them as canon.

The Scouting Corps retreat with the corpses they could find, including Levi’s Squad. Levi takes the Wings of Freedom patch from his comrades, to remember them, and I suppose in a show for the audience to make him seem more humane.

Again, I don’t know if this happened in the manga because I don’t remember it. It’s a nice little add-on but… no, Levi is still a very… morally ambiguous character. There is no escaping the fact that he’s someone who is used to killing.

The filler is very emotionally charged and brutal and frankly almost overblown to my eyes; in order to distract attacking Titans they dump the bodies to be devoured. Well, to wrap it up let’s just say ‘being a soldier sucks’.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Something a little different today

I've been busy again, and I don't have any new books to share today (library trip is scheduled for later today, no worries) but I'll instead share a little bit of pop culture making the rounds.

The Mystery Skulls 'Ghost'. It's always pleasant when something new (to me) is brought to my attention - I've been enjoying their music and the video is wonderful. I do like the Scooby Doo homage and the fact that the story is left up to interpretation. AND the ending ain't sweet and just leaves the viewer with more questions. Well done, Mystery Skulls team, well done.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Attack on Titan Episode 21 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is a unique and phenomenal story which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Episode 21: Iron Hammer/The 57th Expedition Part 5

Straight up warning folks, this is one of the hardest-to-watch episodes of the entire season. This is going to be brutal so fair warning.

The last episode left off after all sorts of goings on. The Female Titan chose self-destruction and Erwin had to concede to defeat and called a retreat, BUT not before ordering Levi to resupply before heading after his squad.

Unbeknownst to the Levi Squad a Mysterious Stranger in the woods hunts them, and we ended that episode with the death of Gunther.

The shock of the loss of Gunther throws everybody into a momentary panic but they recover quickly and tell Eren to start running (or flying, with the gear) but too late!

It’s the return of the Female Titan!!

And this is a good place for an ‘oh shit’ moment, because here she comes, like a freight train and as unstoppable and a mountain slide.

Eren, for the second time in one day, attempts to transform to his Titan self but is stopped again by Petra Eyes, choosing to again place his faith in the Levi Squad.

We’re going to have a small dissection of this decision momentarily but first –

The Levi Squad is ON IT!

They earn their reputation by ripping the Female Titan apart in seconds, blinding her, which forces her back against a tree while protecting her nape, then cutting the tendons and muscles in her arms to drop them.

They HAVE it, but they-

Don’t.

The Female Titan is like a freaking combat genius as she prioritized Titan healing into ONE eye and used that seconds-wide window to take Eld out by biting him in half.

Petra and Bozal barely have time to react. The Female Titan has already healed the damage and comes after Petra.

She’s dead.

And Bozal goes down quickly after.

In a flash the Levi Squad is annihilated.

Now, I want to talk about Eren’s decision a little. He chose to put his faith into his comrades, who are indeed strong and dependable and should have been able to take out ANY Titan that attacked them. So it makes sense that he wants to believe in them, SHOULD believe in them.

But Levi also put it very aptly; you just don’t know what the right answer is until you choose.

This time, Eren might have chosen poorly.

But I want to look at his belief that by changing into his Titan form, he would not have lost any comrades. A clash between Titans is insane; the power behind it, the absolute chaotic force – can you really say that Eren would win?

That he wouldn't accidentally killed someone trying to help him?

This is a very realistic look at hindsight being 20/20 (except, it isn’t, not always). We don’t know what decision would have been the correct one. They might have died even if he HAD transformed.

Not that is matters now because Eren has lost his teammates in the most brutal way possible, witnessing each and every one of their deaths.

The Rage Beast comes screaming out as he transforms and shakes the entire forest with his screech of outrage.

Immediately, Levi and Mikasa realize something has happened and both take off towards him.

Female Titan versus Titan Eren – BEGIN!!

Ha ha, clash of the Titans. Ahhem. Firstly, though, we follow Levi as he finds the remains of his squad. He pauses over Petra, face dark, without emotion and drawn.

This is interesting. What does this say about Levi? About his background as a soldier, his life as a supposed criminal?

I see a man who has seen so much death, so much violence that he only functions by not letting emotion touch him. He’s almost like an animal. At least he doesn’t feel emotion, not consciously, I think he shoves it so deep inside of himself that he might have a psychotic break someday but for now he has a mission to carry out. It’s very interesting to think about the psychology behind this. I know he’s a fan favorite, but he really isn’t a healthy person, nor I think, an entirely good one. Not bad, but not exactly good, either.

Anyhow.

Back to the fight between Titans, Eren ain’t doing so well.

I LOVE this about Attack on Titan. The Shounen Fight of RAAAGGEEE trope is one that is a staple in anime and AoT ignores it.

The Trope goes like; our protagonist is attacked/faced by a much MUCH stronger adversary. By all accounts, he should NOT be able to win; the antagonist is smarter, stronger, more experienced BUT –

The antagonist kicks his puppy, or kills a friend, or lover and BEHOLD!!

THE POWER OF RAAAGGEE COMPELLS the protagonist who then, for reasons beyond common sense, pulls a win out of his ass because … he’s the protagonist in a Shounen series with RAGE!!! Well, here the creator was striving for realism because the POWER OF RAGE makes Eren weak against the Female Titan.

Think about it.

Eren is still a teenager; he’s still GROWING for God’s sake. He’s still emotionally immature, inexperienced and knows next to NOTHING about his Titan form other than SMASH!!! And it bites him in the ass. The Female Titan has utter control of the fight. She doesn’t allow any emotion to enter and she WIPES THE FLOOR WITH EREN.

Didn’t you ever hear that phrase ‘you lose your cool you lose the fight’?

Eren is exhausted, having repeatedly taken damage but he pauses – almost as though in shock.

The Female Titan takes advantage and shears the top of his head off with that skin hardening thing she does and Eren in down for the count, having lost the battle.

She bites Eren out of the neck of his Titan forms and juuuust Mikasa finds them the Female Titan ‘swallows’ him (or, at least, stores him in her mouth).

Remember out little talk about spring-wells? Well, this one breaks as Mikasa witnesses Eren’s ‘death’ and she goes full psychopath Beast Mode.

DAMN, Mikasa is a monster – she does what the entire Levi Squad cannot; comes after the Female Titan like a blender with legs and cuts out the tendons on her feet/calves, felling her.

The Female Titan won’t go down so easy though and Mikasa gets ready for a second attack – but! Levi has arrived and pulls her back.

The Dream Team has arrived.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Conundrum

All right, peeps, help me out.

THE 100 IS BACK WITH SEASON TWO. Yes, your favorite cheesy, badly written young adult sci-fi dystopian fantasy is BACK, with already three episodes!!

What to do... we're not quite done with Attack on Titan but i don't want to let The 100 get TOO far into the second season before I start recapping it... hmmm, what do you think if I do double reviews instead of Watership Down for a while, since I'm struggling to finish that book anyway? I REALLY want to get to recapping the 100 because it was so stupidly entertaining...

Suggestions? Comments??

*crickets*

Anyone?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Constantine Review/Recap Episode One Pilot: Non Est Asylum

A little late, but better late than never

All right, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of the series, judging from the first two episodes. Maybe it'll get better as it goes along (Gotham, has, I admit) but I have problems with this show.

I don't know anything about the comic; I've only heard the basic background of John Constantine -that he is a damned soul brought back to earth to save others, that he's British, bi-sexual and snarky. Ingredients that make for, what you would think, an excellent story. So let's look at the tv series

We start our adventure in an insane asylum, with John being strapped down to a gurney and undergoing shock therapy. At first I was pissed because I was pretty sure they stopped doing electroshock therapy like, in the 60's seeing how it mostly did harm rather than good. But then 30 seconds of googling led to some interesting information about it and that the show uses it all wrong. IF and when a hospital uses electroshock therapy (and they still do, for extreme cases of depression, as an absolute last resort and with the full consent of the patient, as it causes amnesia) they do NOT just hook you up to a car battery and let er' rip.

Okay, could you BE any more of a drama-llama?

So John writhing around on the gurney is a load of shit. Doctors give the patient a sedative and use low voltage, NOT enough to make them jump around like an electrocuted frog - so strike one. Also it seems like, well, I'm not even sure why hell John is there. He has issues, hell yes, but it seems like he doesn't actually need to be at the asylum. He screams at his therapist to prove that demons don't exist, and then leans back with this smug, 'No? can't prove it? HA, I will remain perma-angry and snarky then'

John follows the bugs to a possessed patient and we get a little taste of good ol' theatrical exorcism. I'm surprised the possessee didn't spew green bile and have her head spin because HOLY FUCK over dramatic much?

Turns out it was an old buddy of John's sending the message to help save his still living daughter. So John decides he's cured and leaves the asylum (totes works that way in real life)

Ah meet the heroine of the story; whatsherface. Because I can't, for the love of GOD, remember what her name is, and have pretty much zero interest in her as a character.

What's her face is a Normal Girl, paying college debt with a shitty job when! The spooks are after her! I like how she just brushes off the ground opening up and spewing flame as a mild inconvenience that she just walks away from.

Totally normal, the ground opens up all the time, I'm SURE, and bleches forth giant balls of flame, nothing to worry about - oh, there's John leaping out from a taxi to proclaim he's here to help! and he's as ass. and she brushes him off like a good heroine and just goes home, chalking it up to a weird day.

Mysterious Men lurk in the hallway.

This next bit cracks me the hell up; that she goes from normally dressed to fanservice fodder in .02 seconds, with full butt shot. Because when creepy men lurk in the hallway AND I be have demons after me I know I like to dress as vulnerably as possible, HEY, why not cover yourself in lamb's blood and stake yourself to the ground? Yes, she's THAT kind of heroine.

So back to John, who climbs down the fire-spewing hole only to be met by, er, an angel? A really angry kind of evil looking angel? Who brings great tidings of 'YOU'RE ALL GONNA DIIIEEEE'.

I guess there's a THING coming that's bad.

Turns out Hallway Creeper was there on John's orders to carve Egyptian symbols into her door so she doesn't die horribly. Instead her friend and neighbor die horribly. Then get possessed. Then kills the driver of the ambulance and makes a really hilarious and horrible assassination attempt to drive the truck into whatsherface's workplace, hitting her desk even though SHE WAS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE BUILDING, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!!!

So this was a truly creepy portion of the show, I felt, as her very dead, very possessed friend is now a hood ornament on the truck, with her head nearly snapped off her body. She's breathing like an asthma patient doing the whole creepy demon thing when Whatsherface goes, 'LIKE, OMIGOD IT'S MY DEAD FRIEND!"

WHAT?! That is not a normal reaction, if I saw shit like that I would firstly puke, because EW, then scream. and scream some more, and spend the next fifteen years in therapy because that shit ain't normal.

I noticed very definite underwhelming acting throughout this entire show. This was the most blatant example.

So John is an ass. And gives whatsherface an amulet because Reasons.

Turns out whatsherface has the Shinning (You mean the SHINING? SHUSH, DO YOU WANT TO GET SUED??) and can see ghostly ghouls and...trains.

John continues to be an ass, as he grasps her wrists and she freaks out because she thinks they're about to get hit but ghost train just goes right through them.

Ass.

So Hallway Creeper, John and Whatsherface are now driving because REASONS, when they are attack by invisible demon who ...possesses a broken cable and stabs Hallway Creeper with it (no worries, he lives because REASONS).

Annnd, the original Ghost Busters had better visual graphics and was less cheesy.

John brings Whatsherface to a cabin in the woods (NOTHING ever went wrong with an isolated cabin in the woods, EVER) and we do some more magical girl, the demons are after you plot building.

John has an idea. John brings in more sketchy friends to help catch the demon.

John's brilliant plan is the equivalent of setting up a box with a carrot tied to a stick underneath it. Their demon of the week will get caught in the circle he's drawn and then he can send it back to hell.

Showdown!

So demon of the week takes the appearance of Dead John and taunts him. There is a really poor attempt at character building and sympathy with John - apparently he failed to save a little girl, bla bla bla really shitty story telling, I'm not feeling any sympathy for him annnnnd the demon goes 'NEENER NEENER, I WILL PICK AT ALL YOUR INSECURITIES' and John wins.

Demon of the week is cast back the hole whence it came and John gets really pissy and drives away Whatsherface.

He's having an existential crisis, OKAY?? SO BUGGER OFF!!

This whole...ending of the episode confused me. Wasn't whatsherface supposed to be the golden child of That Which Will Save All Humanity, or something? She has this power, she has this THING for attracting dangerous entities that want to kill her, or drink her soul or whatever and John's fucking brilliant plan is to DRIVE HER AWAY from the one person who can help her learn to protect herself!??!

There is not enough WHAT?!?!? in the world to follow that logic.

And we end the episode with a pint of beer and John being an ass.

Yes, I watched the second episode and honestly, it was so bad I don't even know what happened. I couldn't watch the entire thing. There. I suffered so you don't have to. let me know if this get's any better because right now it's a horrible show.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Some updates

Apparently I've forgotten to mention anything about updates but yea.. Hero of Bowerstone has a bunch of new chapters if you head on over to that page. I have decided that in honor of NaNoWriMo I am devoting the entire November month to nothing but writing. Which is good because I stupidly have too many projects for writing. That means updates and reviews for this blog, all the Novelizations I took on AND original writing which I'm debating whether or not to share because generally unless it's published people don't have an interest in 'original' writing so I may just keep that to myself.

Attack on Titan Episode 20 Recap

Right off the bat, let’s start with some disclaimers. THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, NOR THE SQUIMISH. I know, I know – you’re a paragon of steely resolve, your sinews are made from Wolverines cigar gristle and are Ford tough. Congratulations. HOWEVER, this is an anime that is brutal right out of the gate. That’s what makes it so interesting; this is a world where humanity is on its last leg and the audience is left on the edge of their seats hoping that SOMEBODY is going to survive.

Obviously major spoilers, we will be looking at the series in depth, poking at nooks and crannies and looking at characters and plot and why AoT has gained such insane popularity. There will be cursing, there will be blood. Some of the screen caps may be graphic (I will actually try to not and be too graphic with them, I don’t know who is looking at my blog).

Attack on Titan is a unique and phenomenal story which includes many elements; fantasy, mystery, politics, military campaigns, camaraderie, sacrifice and hope. If you can get past the brutal nature of the narrative its worth watching. All right, let’s get into it:

Attack on Titan Episode 20: Erwin Smith/ The 57th Expedition Part 4

Erwin done gone caught himself a Titan. It looks like all the effort (and deaths. So many deaths) have finally paid off as the towering forty foot female who caused countless deaths and destruction is strung up tighter than a violin wire.

Levi leaves his squad to report to Erwin and the team rides on further ahead to await further instruction.

Well.

You have her, what do you do with her? Levi is tasked with finding out who is inside the Titan.

We see the planning and intelligence that goes with this plan. Erwin knew that there was a mole within the military, he knew that by setting this whole complicated cloak n’ dagger, hide-the-Eren game it would draw out the conspirators and BINGO – Female Titan.

What did you think she was going to make it easy?

The Female Titan, even without being able to move, is incredibly tough, intelligent and not giving up any secrets easily.

In addition to strength, speed, tactical prowess and combat skills, she apparently has the ability to momentarily harden her skin so that even with Levi and another Elite Scouting member doing their damnedest to cut her open, fail.

The blades shatter against her hardened skin and whoever is inside remains safe.

Erwin realizes how little time he has and gets serious.

Like, RELEASE THE BOMBS serious.

The plan is to take her hands off and, one assumes, is willing to mutilate her to get her secrets. While the explosives are being prepared Levi gives the Female Titan a little Levi-style pep talk.

Which is about the equivalent of Hannibal Lecter giving a lecture.

You can imagine how that goes over with whoever is inside – Levi does do dead creepy eyes rather well. The Female Titan lets out a terrible series of screams that are so powerful it nearly knocks everybody over.

What on earth was that?! Well, bad news is, is that she’s still stuck, GOOD news is that we can add ‘Titan Whisperer’ to her resume.

They come streaming by the dozens, rushing past soldiers, ignoring the soldiers in favor of heading straight for the Female Titan.

And they start to devour her.

Freaky shit, right there, I think Erwin agrees. There’s so much carnage, limbs flesh and Titan steam that no one can see what’s going on and Erwin reluctantly admits defeat, shaken that the Female Titan would go so far as to cannibalize herself via other Titans just to keep information secret.

Don’t count Erwin out yet; he still feels like something is off. He orders Levi to refuel his gear and orders the retreat of the troops.

Meanwhile, the Levi squad are in high spirits, assuming that the worst is over and the Female Titan has been caught and the instigator arrested.

Aw, crap, you KNOW things are too good to be true when Petra is being adorable and everybody is joking and laughing.

That’s like BEGGING for fate to smack a bitch.

Ohhhh, here we go; mystery soldier fires a flare, hunting for the Levi Squad.

And the Levi Squad answers, assuming it’s Levi himself looking for them. The mystery person catches up with them and…

Gunther is dead in seconds, his head nearly cut from his body.

The Levi Squad is in deep, deep trouble.