Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Comic Books (Part 1)

Sorry to anyone that actually reads these rambles that I haven't been on in a while. Senior year of college has been a major thorn in my side and coupled with finals and just plain not giving a fuck about school thanks to the nature of the classes I've chosen to study...just yeah. Luckily, the semester is over so that means I'll be posting here more often. Let's start with comics that have been released this month.

1. Thunderbolts v. 3 #1: In many ways, this is the very epitome of a black ops dream team. It's mine, anyway. Seriously, 3 out of my top 5 favorite Marvel characters are on this team (Punisher, Venom and Deadpool). The presence of Elektra and Red Hulk is welcome as well. There's really not much to spoil here, the plot revolves around General Ross (Red Hulk) recruiting his charges. It's kind of like taking all those ending scenes from the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and putting them together, only with the aforementioned characters. The art is a nice familiar look with Steve Dillon from The Punisher fame illustrating with his familiar style.

2. Wolverine Max #1 and #2: Ok, these were technically released in October and November, but I didn't get around to picking them up till this month. Interesting take on a badass character who's probably been over-utilized way too many times by Marvel. I liked the way it introduced Wolverine and the man not-so-subtly implied to be Sabretooth's origins and meetings in what appears to be Tokugawa-era Japan. I liked the way the series began with a plane crash. It's a pretty interesting and refreshing take on Marvel's most overused character.

3. Punisher: War Zone: Frank gets blamed for killing these cops, and that puts him on the Avengers' shit list. He probably didn't do it, but what do the Avengers know? This series is basically The Punisher vs. the Avengers. What's not to like? Also, Frank's new look is fittingly badass.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Medal of Honor: Warfighter, much maligned, everyone is missing the point

Medal of Honor: Warfighter was undoubtedly one of the most hyped and anticipated games of Fall 2012. I personally was a huge fan of the 2010 reboot because of its realism and the fact that it was based on true events from early on in the war in Afghanistan. Something about getting to play as characters based on people that definitely existed in real life just clicked with me, especially since my original career path after high school was to join the Army (I ended up going to college like everyone else). It was much more realistic than the arcadey and increasingly ludicrous Call of Duty, which keeps getting more ridiculous with each installation. I was pumped for Warfighter the minute it got announced shortly before Spring Break.

I picked it up at midnight. The next day, this game actually received scathing reviews, giving it the distinction of being the game with the lowest reviews that I actually went out and spent $60 on. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Warfighter did not deserve the bad reviews at all. Actually, it's more along the lines of this: the reviewers completely missed the point of the game.

Singleplayer: Why yes, it was just another generic shooter campaign that seemed to lack a coherent story line. That's because it was based largely off true events. In that sense, Warfighter in my opinion is the definitive game to play if you really want to come remotely close to what real special forces have to do. The life of a special forces guy probably isn't going to be that spectacular with explosions going off all over the place like in any Hollywood action movie. Then there was the drama between the SEAL Preacher and his family. Yeah it seemed corny to many, but that's because people are used to more extreme examples thanks to Nicholas Sparks movies and Hollywood in general. Once again, this is more realistic. The campaign is linear, but keep in mind it's largely based off things that already happened. The developers knew how these events played out. Of course, to everyone else, it's just more of the same. Warfighter does not deserve to be compared to Call of Duty. That's like comparing Transformers to a video about robotics in real life. Of course the flashier one is going to be better-received among people who just want dumb entertainment.

Multiplayer: Gameplay-wise, just like anything I've experienced with one little exception: the fireteam system. Basically, it pairs you up with a buddy, and you're supposed to work together. It definitely works. Healing each other, resupplying each other and saving each other's asses gives of a surprising sense of camaraderie. Even that corny post-match animation of the 1st place fireteam fistbumping makes me feel happy on the inside. On a more serious note, I personally think that this multiplayer is much more balanced than Call of Duty, which tends to favor campers and other people who just rely on cheaper tactics because they have no skill. I prefer games that actually require skill, and Warfighter is one of them. The graphics are a little rough on the multiplayer, but hey, it has a pretty smooth frame rate for me so i'm not complaining.

Closing comments: People who thought the campaign was too generic completely missed the point. The whole point of Warfighter was to not be another Call of Duty knockoff with the over-the-top spectacle and explosions going off all over the place. The point was to focus more on real life special forces exploits, which from what I understand don't tend to play out like Michael Bay films. Of course, that's why mainstream gamers will always be mainstream. They'll always prefer the Hollywood-style crap to something that's more realistic.

8 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Best comic book storylines of all time (Part 1)

I'm doing a series on what I think are the best comic story arcs I've read. You may not agree, and that's the point. It's my opinion, not yours.

1. The Dark Knight Returns: This is the entire reason why comic books started to not be only for kids and why guys my age can read comics and still be looked at as (mostly) normal. Batman was already a dark character, but Frank Miller kind of turned that up to 11 with this seminal miniseries. It starts with Bruce Wayne as an old man taking up the cowl once again to fight a crime situation that was worse than it was when he was in his prime. It ends with a showdown between two of the most legendary icons in comic book, no, recent human history. The whole thing is just raw badass.

2. X-Men - Dark Phoenix Saga: Holy shit. Words can't even begin to describe how seminal this was. For me, the whole concept that a human being (of course, a mutant) could possess such godlike powers was one of the things that made this story arc so good. It just brought the Marvel Universe together for an event unlike any other (at the time) as everyone fought either for control of Jean Grey or just to keep her out of the wrong hands. Too bad it didn't get proper film treatment...

3. X-Men - Days of Future Past: Before the Terminator and his follow-up movies portrayed a dystopian future in which machines rule and humanity is reduced to a ratlike state of resistance, X-Men did. That's right, folks, this story arc which portrayed a grim alternate future came a full three years before James Cameron's sci fi classic.

4. Ultimate Spider-Man - The Clones Saga: Ultimate Spider-Man is just one of the best series of this generation. If you haven't read it yet, please do. The entire series (which I'm still reading) has had me hooked ever since I started. Brian Bendis is just that good. The Clones Saga, in which Peter Parker encounters clones of him with different features (including a female clone), deserves special attention. It just had so many "holy shit!" moments, including one involving Dr. Octopus. At that point, everything in the series, especially Peter Parker keeping the fact that he was Spider-Man under wraps, just came full circle. Damn.

5. The Punisher: The Slavers: Comics have become increasingly dark throughout time starting with the title that was #1 on this list. Garth Ennis' run on the Punisher series with Marvel's MAX imprint is probably my favorite series of all time because it's so dark and so realistic. In my opinion, it takes comics to a level of realism and darkness that most writers refuse to go to. The individual arcs all deal with dark subjects that are grounded in reality ranging from corporate crime to mob wars to Soviet military officers who think their war isn't over. This arc has to take the cake. It's over human trafficking. Human trafficking. And it revels in it and tackles it, a subject that no one else in the medium before Garth Ennis (that I know of) ever even dared to touch. Very bold. One of the reasons why Frank Castle is one of my favorite characters is because he deals with the people in this world that really deserve to be dealt with. And he doesn't subject them to some sorry-ass lame justice system. He kills them in the most horrific, nasty ways possible. Do evil unto evil. That concept is very evident in The Slavers.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Comic book movies I'd like to see (Part 2)

It's no big secret that I'm a Marvel guy so this installment will feature more titles that aren't Marvel (and yes, manga count as comic books).

1. Old Man Logan: Okay, I won't lie to you. This is probably my favorite stand-alone miniseries that
Marvel's ever done. The storytelling, just the way it brought the MU together in a dystopic alternate future was so...perfect. It's fairly new having been released in 2009, but I think as time goes on, Old Man Logan will stand as Marvel's answer to The Dark Knight Returns. It probably shouldn't get made for a while because of all the other shit Marvel's trying to get made into film, but when it does, I do think that a Hugh Jackman in his 50s-60s would still be a perfect choice. No, really. I can't see anyone else playing Wolverine.

2. Civil War: One of my friends actually pointed this idea out to me. He told me that all this Marvel Cinematic Universe Shit was rumored to be leading up to Civil War. I don't know how Avengers 2 will play out, but I wouldn't be surprised. But damn, that would be fucking brilliant if it all led up to that. A feud between Cap and Iron Man. Only Mark Millar (who also wrote Old Man Logan) could think up such brilliance and it would probably make a killing if it does get made like 10-15 years from now.

3. Age of Reptiles: I've been a dinosaur freak ever since I was about 4. Ricardo Delgado's wordless prehistoric epic. This would be absolutely brilliant as a movie. It could be just so beautifully done and could be what Disney's Dinosaur completely failed to be when Michael Eisner in his infinite wisdom decided to make the characters fucking talk. Oh it's also really violent so maybe it'll appeal to an older crowd as well and show people that the Mesozoic Era was not exactly Barney.

4. Ronin: I haven't read it yet, but it was Samurai Jack was based off it so that must mean it'd make a pretty fucking awesome movie.

5. Lone Wolf and Cub: There have been several live-action Japanese adaptations, but a modern one with modern special effects done with a similar style to movies like 13 Assassins would possibly be the most badass movie of all time. I could see Tadanobu Asano as Ogami Itto.

6. Vagabond: I have a thing for Edo Japan. A series of movies done with modern special effects about Miyamoto Musashi would be absolutely awesome considering that he's easily one of the most badass real men who has ever walked the face of the earth. Oh and they need to finish up that series with a duel with Sasaki Kojiro that they conspicuously left out.

7. Planet Hulk/World War Hulk: I'm adding this in late because I forgot about it. Hulk is a character who has yet to have a solo movie that is, well, spectacular, but I think this could be it. Of course, like Civil War and Old Man Logan, this would have to come after the Avengers 2. This is easily Hulk's best story arc. It's only fitting that it gets made into a big budget movie, even if that animated adaptation was pretty good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Comic book movies I'd like to see

With next year's release of The Wolverine and the 2014 release of X-Men: Days of Future Past along with anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe churns out, I'm pretty excited for the future of comic book movies. However, here are a few I'd like to see made.

1. Deadpool & Cable: Possibly my favorite team-up from the Marvel Universe (MU), this would make for a great action/comedy flick a la Lethal Weapon with the two leads and their constant quarrels. Ryan Reynolds is already known universally as the go-to-guy for Deadpool because of that Wolverine movie and the Deadpool movie they're working on (right?), but Steven Lang would be absolutely perfect for Cable. Hell, Colonel Quaritch even looks like the guy, especially in the Deadpool MAX series.

2. Black Lagoon: Yes, manga counts as comics. I first watched it as an anime before I got into the original manga and it simply just kicked ass. The fact that the chick in it was really fucking hot definitely enhanced the overall experience. I can't say I can name actors, especially since this would probably be made in Japan, but if they could bring in Michael Davis, the director of Shoot 'Em Up, this could be a near-perfect action flick with the right casting.

3. Spawn reboot: Simply put, while Michael Jai White is the perfect man to play Al Simmons, the first movie just didn't do this 90s classic justice. It was PG-13 for starters, and just wasn't dark enough. In fact, it was kind of cartoony and light-hearted, which anyone who's even read Spawn lightly knows the series isn't. A reboot probably wouldn't do too well at the box office initially, but I can see it becoming a cult hit and probably getting better reviews than its predecessor if done properly.

4. Venom spinoff: Dammit, they just need to get their shit together and make this already. They need a better Eddie Brock, someone about twice the size of Topher Grace. I hate to say it, but if Paul Walker put on a lot of muscle, like what Christian Bale did for Batman, he might pull it off. I just say him because I can't think of anyone else who actually resembles Brock from the comics.

5. Sgt. Rock: Another one that's been in the works for a while, based off a Silver Age character whose exploits almost motivated me to join the Army after high school and were the basis of many daydreams when I was 16. Can't really name a suitable actor, maybe William Fitchner because of all the military-based things he's done.

6. Punisher reboot with Thomas Jane: I don't give a shit what you think. Thomas Jane was (though maybe not by much) the better Punisher. He actually made the character seem more believable as opposed to Ray Stevenson's Terminator-like portrayal. Maybe if the potential reboot combined the hard-hitting, unapologetically violence and action of War Zone with the plot and character development of the 2004 film, it would be better?

That's all, folks.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (AKA the best movie of the summer)

It's been a little more than a week since I saw it, a movie that I've waited 4 years for. The Christopher Nolan Batman movies are the gold standard by which all comic book movies are judged and they improved in quality with each installment. You know that this is a different Hollywood we have when a superhero movie can win an Oscar. As it is, The Dark Knight is easily one of the defining movies of this generation and for me, one of those movies that keeps getting better every time I watch it, particularly the ending which always brings chills down my spine because of its sheer poetic awesomeness. Yeah I was pretty stoked for The Dark Knight Rises.
First of all, the overall quality of the movie was top notch. The casting, the writing, everything about it was pretty much near perfection. So, what's it all about? To bring a brief recap, it's been 8 years since Bruce Wayne fought the Joker. He's kind of old and kind of a cripple. He's also a recluse, that is, one fateful night when cat burglar Selina Kyle steals something precious from him. This turn of events brings Wayne to once again don the iconic cowl, and the timing could not be better because there's a new guy in town, Bane, and he makes all other villains that came before him look like cupcakes.
The acting: Christian Bale was once again top notch as Bruce Wayne. I can't say much because not much has changed. He's still Batman, just slightly older and slightly more world-weary. He did a good job playing a man on the verge of his breaking point, someone who was born into privilege but instead chose to use that privilege to help others (with great power comes great responsibility - you're doing it right). As a result, his life is slightly, well, not normal and at this point, it's downright miserable. But he knows that he's not done yet and Christian Bale captured that mentality perfectly.
Many have cried foul of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. All I have to say is that I can understand the purists/fanboys, I'm somewhat of one. However, that's the point of the Christopher Nolan trilogy: it's meant to be more realistic and if that means doing away with the more fantastical elements, so be it. As a result, the character is basically Catwoman in name only and the "cat" essence is captured in the sense that she's a cat burglar. Hathaway fit the role almost as well as that bodysuit, a perfectly seductive foil for Bruce Wayne.
Oh boy, Tom Hardy. For me, Bane was the highlight of the movie. The minute I first saw pictures, I was blown away by what a raw badass/monster this character was. And the best part is, thanks to the more realistic nature of the Nolan trilogy, Bane isn't the overly steroidal creature from Batman and Robin or most of his other portrayals. He's just a big dude who looks more like someone who hits the gym regularly rather than a guy from a protein supplement advertisement. In fact, one of my cousins actually thought Bane reminded him of me since we're of similar build. Let me get one thing clear: THIS is how you properly do a movie villain. While Loki from The Avengers certainly had bad intentions, he wasn't quite menacing enough and he was actually kind of charismatic, the kind of fellow girls might like. Bane makes Loki look like a care bear. I'll admit that the Joker was probably the better villain, but Bane comes pretty damn close. Joker is rabid dog, but Bane is the guy who probably let the dog off the leash and while the dog is bad, you wonder what kind of bad shit its owner is capable of. This is the kind of villain that truly inspires fear. Even his name inspires fear. Honestly, when I hear of someone called a joker, I think of a class clown or a jester. When I hear of someone named "Bane," I'd probably pee my pants then get the hell out of town.
As for the writing, the movie was a little long and definitely took a while to get going, but once it started, I was hooked. The entire second act had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, especially during the raw, brutal fights between Batman and Bane. I'm not going to spoil it if you're one of the few people who hasn't seen this movie yet, but it provided a very satisfying conclusion to possibly the most influential movie trilogy of this generation. Yes, it's more influential than The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, but I'll address my opinion in a later blog post.

4 out of 4 stars. If you haven't seen it yet, drop whatever you're doing and go right now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Response to the Aurora, CO Batman shooting

Mass shootings are always a tragic thing. No innocent people deserve to die such horrific deaths, especially while watching a movie. This thing could have happened in any city at any time. Shit like this that happens is not just limited to movies and comic books, it happens in real life, yet people are never truly aware nor truly prepared. They just think that nothing's going to happen, ever.
And they'd be right, most of the time. See, if you go out, there's going to be a 99.9% chance that you're not going to be in any type of mortal danger. In other words, you have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning than by encountering some crazed lunatic straight out of Batman.
Then there's the .1% of the time. The scary thing about this occurrence is the stark reality that this is the kind of scene that could have easily been portrayed in a Batman movie or any other superhero movie. In fact, word on the street is that the perpetrator dressed up as the Joker (I might be wrong, but he was basically armed to the teeth and had been planning his attack for quite a while).
The difference between Gotham City and pretty much any major city in the US is that superheroes don't exist. There is no caped crusader, no team of vigilante mutants or even Avengers to rescue you when you really need it. In most cities, police are usually minutes away when seconds matter. And the sickos in the world know this.
As much as I am a geek, I'm also a gun person and an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. I'm not going to turn this into NRA propaganda because that's not the purpose of this blog. Concealed carry doesn't exist to turn us all into Batman wannabes. However I will end by saying that several or even one well-trained person could have saved those 12 people from dying and those 59 from getting injured. What? There was smoke you say? Take it from me, chances are that people who carry get enough practice on the range to know not to fire blindly into the darkness. Also guns give off bright muzzle flashes (the reason why you need eye protection when shooting) so even if there was smoke, you'd still be able to identify the location of the shooter. Furthermore, many people have flashlights or laser attachments. Maybe someone could have been injured had there been someone carrying concealed at the location when the shooting started. I'd take a few injured (hell, I'd rather be injured) than get the entire theater massacred. Sometimes, with issues like these, it's a matter of wanting it bad or worst. Nothing is black and white anymore.
Batman may not be real, but men like the Joker, like Bane, like the rest of the Rogues Gallery and inmates at Arkham Asylum are. Superheroes aren't real. Monsters are. It falls on the average citizen to protect themselves. You don't like guns or the idea of hurting someone even if said someone is holding you at gunpoint (or threatening to literally cut your mouth open)? Regardless of political views, protecting yourself and others around you is a human priority, not a political one. Oftentimes, it's not a glamorous thing to do considering the multitude of possible outcomes. Of course, if it's your family or the deranged psychopathic lunatic threatening to kill them and the entire crowd of innocent people, I think the choice should be fairly clear.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wolverine (officially) has a sequel

Wolverine is one of my all-time favorite superheroes. He's practically indestructible (READ: immortal due to healing factor), has KNIVES as a part of his body that he can retract at will and he has the bad attitude/gruff cynical attitude to match. Comic book heroes don't get anymore badass than that. The only people who come close are the Punisher and Spawn in terms of sheer badass. So I was decicedly excited and blown away when I first saw trailers for Origins back in 2009.
The more I think about it, the only thing good about that movie was Hugh Jackman's performance. Everything else was kind of subpar and cliche considering that it was a movie from the same franchise that basically set the standard for superhero movies a few years prior with X2. The movie's story was all over the place, and it fell flat trying to cover way too much material in one movie (although the Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting through various wars in history montage was cool). Not to mention, it had too many individual mutants and didn't go into enough detail with any of them (I'm looking right at you, Deadpool and Gambit). In short, it could have been much more with better writing and character development.
Which leads me to my next point, Wolvie gets a sequel aptly named...wait for it...wait for it...The Wolverine. Despite mostly negative reviews, Origins did well enough to warrant a sequel and hey, that's how Hollywood works. Of course, I've been a diehard X-men fan for most of my life so I'm always interested when they announce new shit. Whereas the first movie focused on Logan's origin story, this one will focus on his time in Japan, based on the famous Chris Claremont/Frank Miller miniseries from the early 80s.
Of course, Hugh Jackman returns for the titular role. Honestly, I can't imagine anyone else playing Wolverine even though he's technically a foot shorter than Jackman. Because it's set in Japan, most of the roles are played by Asians, something I like because I'm, well, Asian. Hiroyuki Sanada (that really badass samurai from The Last Samurai) plays the crime lord Shingen and the film's villain, Silver Samurai, is Will Yun Lee. The other notable roles are played by Brian Tee (who coincidentally shares, down to the letter, the same name as my brother) and Tao Okamoto as Wolvie's love interest, Mariko.
The actors definitely make a movie, but arguably more important is the director and the writers. I don't know too much about screenwriters, but at least one of the writers here has collaborated with Bryan Singer (director of the previous X-men films) before so that's promising. James Mangold is the director here, a better choice for the darker setting of this sequel. He's got hits on his resume like Walk the Line (which won several Academy Awards and Golden Globes) and 3:10 to Yuma. I'm not expecting The Wolverine to win Best Picture, but I'm hoping at least it's an improvement over Origins. So far, Marvel seems to be headed in the right direction.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man review

The first Spider-Man movie came out almost exactly 10 years ago. Back then, I wasn't too into it on the basis that I wasn't a very big fan of the character and that none of my favorite villains were featured in the movie. As time went on, my opinion changed, and I had the pleasure of re-watching the entire original trilogy just for shits and giggles this summer.
The first one was alright, if a little campy because the director was the same guy who did Evil Dead. The second one was fucking amazing and is easily one of the best superhero movies ever made thanks to the seamless integration of the multiple storylines with the personal conflict going within Peter Parker's troubled soul. The complexity of Doc Ock as one of the finest movie villains of our generation definitely helped. The third one was a movie about an emo kid that fell flat because it tried introducing too many villains. If they wanted to have Venom, they should have made him the main villain and not introduce him literally during the last half hour of the movie. Also if I wanted to watch a movie about emo kids I'd rather watch Donnie Darko or some shit like that.
So yeah, them movies are pretty fucking good. Of course, Hollywood being Hollywood just had to go and reboot the franchise after negotiations for Spider-Man 4 fell through. The reboot for Spider-Man had some pretty big shoes to fill. So, did it succeed? Yeah, I'd say so.
Unlike the original movie, Amazing Spider-Man deals more in depth with Peter Parker in high school. It deals with the issue of what exactly happened to his parents and why they kind of left him hanging. It deals with the growing pains of a kid who just received some really awesome powers during a not-so-awesome time in his life. Where the original movie was like "yeah here are your powers" then herp derp Peter graduates, this one deals with Peter in high school and that is where it excels.
Speaking of Peter, the casting for Amazing Spider-Man was spot on. Andrew Garfield excelled in his role. Now I know some may cry foul and say that Tobey Maguire will forever be Peter Parker in their eyes, but you can take that sentimentality and shove it up your ass. If you've ever read the comics, in particular the recent adaptation, Ultimate Spider-Man, Garfield's portrayal was much closer to the comics. In the original, Peter kind of got along with Uncle Ben and Aunt May all the time. This time, again, like the comics, he misses curfews and regularly bickers with his aunt and uncle, just like a normal teenager and not quite like Tobey Maguire's almost angelic portrayal. He's a brooding teenager who just wants to get through life and be left alone by the world, which I think is something many of us can relate to.
As for the other characters, I'd saw Gwen Stacey was pretty spot-on. I can't really say too much about her because I'm not that familiar with Spidey's love interests, but I do know that in the comics, Gwen is kind of a science nerd like Peter so I respect this portrayal. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben was practically the same as in the original movies since even though the character is a major driving force in Peter's life, he kind of works his influence from the grave, quite literally.
The Lizard was an interesting villain. I'll digress by saying that me being a dinosaur/reptile freak is a big understatement and this was the Spider-Man movie I would have wanted 10 years ago on the basis that he's well A LIZARD. That said, he just wasn't villainous and evil enough. He's a guy with perfectly good intentions who wants to accomplish them in, well, not so good ways. That's what made him an interesting character. He just wanted to help society by literally making people better. I know I'd rather be a mutant lizard than the geek that I am. Still, he's no Doc Ock. He's not even a Green Goblin. But he is better than 3's Venom and Sandman. He was just kind of one-dimensional in his quest to improve humanity (and himself) and probably should have been given more time to develop.
Overall, this is the second best movie based off the friendly neighborhood wall crawler. It didn't blow me away like Spider-Man 2 but it was certainly better than 1 and 3. Where it really excelled was bringing Spider-Man back to his roots and that by itself is something. Unfortunately, it will probably have to play second fiddle to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, but it still got the job done and people will still pay money to see it. I did, and I don't regret it

3.5 out of 4

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fate/Zero Review

Disclaimer: There will be spoilers

People who know me personally know that I'm Asian and due to cultural stereotypes, I watch anime (Japanese cartoons). Kidding. I watch anime because I fucking love it. Been watching that stuff ever since the glory days of old Toonami and the original Pokemon series. Last year, however, I really diversified in terms of which shows I watch and that has led me to a wide variety of shows. Usually, yes, I'll admit that what usually draws me in is attractive girls. That's kind of what drew me to the original Fate/Stay Night visual novel and eventually the anime after the visual novel really hooked me in.
That leads me to Fate/Zero. The basic plot of the entire series is as follows: there's this thing called the Holy Grail that exists to grant wishes or some random ass bullshit along those lines. Anyway, every couple or so years, it chooses a select few people to basically battle it out so that someone wins it. It's kind of like any reality show with a prize, say Survivor, except people die. Ok, so it's more like law school with a high rate of suicides (bad joke there). Oh yeah, and the people in the fight have these partners called "servants." Ok, so it's kind of like Survivor mixed with Pokemon with a little Harry Potter because of the magical elements.
I'm not going to go too into detail if you haven't played the visual novel so if you're reading this, I'm going to assume you have no idea what the fuck this series is. Actually, if you're new to this whole franchise, Fate/Zero is a pretty good place to start. See, it's actually a prequel to the original visual novel/anime so if you haven't played it, it might familiarize you with the world in which this stuff happens. Then again, there's a lot of stuff from the game that the show kind of spoils so if you're an uptight prude about that kind of thing, well, either play the original game or watch the original anime first.
Fate/Zero's plot revolves around the original Holy Grail War in which there are a bunch of these mage families competing for it (READ: trying to kill each other). Standing out among them is Emiya Kiritsugu, the most cold blooded, badass mother fucker in anime since Golgo 13 was first published back in the 60s. Thanks to some traumatic childhood existence, he wants to win the Holy Grail to basically wipe out all evil, suffering, conflict, etc. in the world. It's a hopeless dream, but he wants to accomplish it and he believes that the Holy Grail will grant him this wish (it doesn't). So in order to get into the contest, he marries this really hot white haired chick and summons an equally hot servant. And then the other characters run the gamut from endearing and memorable (like the duo of Rider and Waver) to absolutely despicable (Caster and Ryuunosuke).
Fate/Zero has really good action that never lets up and the story absolutely hooks you in. If I didn't want to actually preserve/enjoy it, I could have easily watched the entire show in less than 2 days. It's that good. The character development and even the emotion in some parts is real and that's actually pretty hard to come by nowadays in most animated works. Yeah, get off your lazy ass and go watch this one.

4 out of 4 stars.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Response to the bus monitor bullying video

Yes, web videos count as "geek" material too

By now, you've all probably seen the video of that poor old lady getting the shit harassed and bullied out of her by a bunch of punk kids who neither deserve to live nor deserve the services of such a sweet, selfless person. This is about as angry as you'll ever see me get and I'm about to launch into a profanity-laced tirade about society in general and what it does to kids.
Historically, kids are supposed to respect adults. This has always been the case as recently as 10 years ago. I know I was always taught to respect my elders and if I didn't, I'd likely either A. get the shit scolded out of me or B. get the shit beaten out of me. Take note that I'm from an Asian background so multiply that tenfold. Oh and I probably would have something dear to me confiscated for a lengthy period of time. Traditionally, white people, especially in the Southern United States will punish the hell out of their kids for infractions like this too, especially since Asian and Southern U.S. cultures emphasize respect.
Nowadays, kids seem to get away with anything. If the kids do badly in school, it's the teacher's fault and the kids don't get blamed for being fucking dumb little shits. If kids bitch about wanting the latest and greatest toys/gizmos, their parents give in. I've seen fucking 8-year-olds with iPhones. As if, my mom would never ever have let me have a phone when I was a kid. Parents get their kids anything without making them work. In short, kids today are more spoiled and that leads to my rant about this video.
In this video, an older lady gets verbally harassed by a bunch of punk middle school kids. I'm going to diverge by saying that even though I normally like kids when they're nice, I strongly dislike most kids at the middle school age, partially because that's when I was bullied on a near-daily basis. Middle schoolers are snot nosed brats that act like high schoolers and think they're cool but really they're just a bunch of losers who are not deserving of half the shit they have.
Anyway, these kids think they're so cool by constantly calling this lady "fat." Okay, some things you should never call people that you don't really know too well, especially "fat." All of the insults could easily have been shrugged off by someone with thick skin and a penchant for dealing with borderline retarded monkeys on a daily basis. Until these retarded fuckers said something about the lady being "so fat that her family should commit suicide" or something along those lines. Umm, no. Just no, some things you really shouldn't joke about, suicide being one of them. What's even worse is that this lady's oldest son did, in fact, commit suicide.
Personally, I think that human beings can't stoop any lower when they resort to bullying. No, I don't think bullying is an okay excuse because you either have a small dick or got molested when you were 4. Bullying is just unacceptable, and bullying an old lady is absolutely the lowest you can go. I think one of those kids actually had the fucking balls to fake an apology when he got called out. It got televised on the news or something and he said he was sorry despite the fact that he said something about wanting to "feed her to his pitbulls" in the video. What a fucking moron. That kid in particular deserves an especially cruel punishment.
So there you go. As a personal victim of bullying, I felt the need to rant about this recent turn of events. No I don't care if you think I'm too harsh or brutally honest. If you were bullied or had kids that were bullied, you'd probably be out to hang the kids in that video from the tallest tree you can find. I'm not, because I think that's too good for them too. They need to face public scorn and live with it for the rest of their lives. And the response the bus monitor got? People donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to her so she can have a vacation. A little overboard? Maybe, since most vacations don't cost near that much. She still deserves it. Anyone who has to deal with fucking pre-teens who think they're gangsters deserves it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review of Prometheus

[Disclaimer: there are a few spoilers]

Okay, I'm going to be really frank with this one. I was really looking forward to this movie. I've been a big fan of the Alien and Predator movies since I was about 11 so you can imagine that I rabidly anticipate anything even remotely related to the former two. I have to say that after The Dark Knight Rises and The Expendables 2, this was probably my most anticipated movie of the summer.
It fucking sucked.
Before you fanboys start flaming me, you have to realize that I'm a really big fanboy myself and I wouldn't say that it fucking sucked if I didn't have my reasons. So here goes my big rant as to why Prometheus sucked.
First of all, it took a really cool and interesting concept and simultaneously made it jumbled and incoherent. I mean seriously, you have one scene of archaeologists making a really big discovery (READ: cave painting) and then the next scene, they have some multi-trillion dollar expedition funded on the basis of a fucking CAVE PAINTING?! That by itself is just, no. Just, no. Who in their right frame of mind would throw away that much money just because someone possibly found POTENTIAL evidence that we were created by aliens?!
Plausibility aside, the story was also all over the place. There was just a bunch of shit that didn't make any damn sense and then this movie, a sci fi summer blockbuster, tries too hard to be philosophical with the whole "should we keep looking for answers for our existence" debate.
That leads to my next point. The characters were all fucking morons. Excuse my language, but there's no better way to put it. You have two archaeologists, who made what in real life would have been a sweet discovery, manage to get an expedition chartered to the most remote, probably dangerous parts of space where literally no one can hear you scream. They were all really flat and single-minded in their suicidal quest for answers. What are you trying to prove? A sane person would just be happy to be alive and not really care why the hell or who the hell created them, especially when said creator aliens turn out to be a bunch of genocidal douchebags.
The other characters with the exception of two are equally moronic for following. At least the captain and that tattooed dude with the mohawk had some brains.
My rant aside, the special effects were top-notch, and some of those more revolting scenes were definitely highlights. Yes, I'm talking about that rape-happy precursor to the facehugger from the Alien movies. And the c-section. It almost ties Alien for shocking birthing scenes. Finally, Michael Fassbender proved himself as one of the foremost young actors in Hollywood with his portrayal of David, the android. He had the perfect mix of calm and emotionless, two great qualities for an artificial being designed to serve its master.

I give it 2 out of 4 stars. Interesting concept tarnished by a poor plot direction and a cast of idiot characters who all deserved to die.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hello World, you kind of suck

This is a new blog by yours truly, the Bald Samurai about most topics that complete nerds like myself like. I'll be covering video games, movies, probably anime and comics. Because I don't really have free time, a lot of the stuff I review/cover will be of my choosing. What's that, you don't like X-Men? GET THE FUCK OUT. Kidding. But seriously, unlike a lot of other people I share interests with, I have some semblance of a life and if I covered everything, yeah I'd be a lot like the rest of the damn world, which would make me fat and out of shape. Once again, kidding. So enjoy.

NOTE: Sometimes I have a tendency to rant and use R-rated language so if that sort of thing offends you, tough. The world is a brutally honest place and as such I'm a brutally honest person.