When it comes to watching a new show, the first few episodes are critical. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of the series is, if the first couple episodes aren’t captivating enough, there’s a good chance people will lose interest in the series and give up on it, but sometimes, there are shows that are worth the wait, series that truly open up after the first episodes and really captivate and draw you once you make It through the first couple episodes. One such show that has impressed me beyond my expectations is the mecha anime “Darling in the FranXX” by the well renowned Studio Trigger, which, despite a slow start, is proving itself to be a thrilling show with excellent pacing, art style, and story writing.
I initially started watching the show out of curiosity; I was constantly seeing so much media, both original artwork as well as memes, surrounding the show I decided to see what all the hype was about. At that point the show was already five episodes in, and after watching the first four, I was left feeling somewhat disappointed. I’ve been a big fan of Trigger’s shows, and whilst I know their shows can have slow starts, they’re usually entertaining enough to keep you with the series; take Kill La Kill for example, whilst the bulk of the story doesn’t really happen until the middle of the series, with Nonon not showing up until around episode 10, the first couple episodes are entertaining enough to keep one watching, in fact, my favourite episode from KlK is episode four, “Dawn of a Miserable Morning”. Whilst it doesn’t progress the story very far, it’s entertaining enough to keep the user hooked on the series. With Darling in the FranXX, the first episodes felt emotionless, overly serious, and rushed, and pushed me to the point where I nearly felt like giving up the series altogether. Episode one felt way too rushed to establish the story, and honestly had me confused at parts, with episodes two through four relying too heavily on the friction between Zero Two and Ichigo, and Hiro’s blind determination to become a pilot. Whilst we’re on the topic of characters, the show’s characters initially left me with a bad taste in my mouth, they reminded me too much of the characters from Aldnoah Zero, with the main character being seemingly emotionless and overpowered, and every other character being both expendable and forgettable, but as the series progressed I soon began to grow fond of the characters, each with their own list of likeable personality traits. Whilst I still think that the characters are still somewhat forgettable, what they bring to the series outweighs most other flaws they might have. What was the real turning point for me with this series was episode 6, A.K.A the beach episode. Now I know that it might sound odd that a cliché “filler” episode would make me begin to like the series but both it, and the “boys vs. girls” episode that followed afterwards really changed my perspective on the series, with both episodes focusing less on action or story progression, but mainly serving to help stir on character development, combine that with the episodes’ more lighthearted tone and you have an excellent break in the story that really helped me to grow into the series and develop a liking for the characters as a whole. This has all leads into the later portions of the show where the show’s ongoing theme of repressed emotions and a naïve ignorance to any form of human intimacy begins to show its cracks, and for the better. We start to see the characters open up and discover what true emotions they’ve been so hidden from. It’s a lovely way of not only progressing the story, but also helping to establish each character’s unique role in the story as a whole and with each passing week the story has taken time to focus not only on individual characters, but also on the cast as a whole, and it’s done this all without feeling rushed or forced. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the slice of life episodes, and one needs to remember that this is a Trigger show, and there’s still a deep plot that needs to progress. Once the slice of life we begin to see story reach a head, tensions begin to rise, and emotions begin to boil over, all cumulating to a head near the middle of the series, with a character conflict so intense that it actually split the fan base in two., but since this a Trigger show, things don’t stay put for long, and it wasn’t long before we see the series brought to an even greater climax, with character’s developing more in one episode than they realistically have throughout the entire series. This also marks the point where the show’s running theme of repressed emotions and ignorance of intimacy falls away completely and the show changes direction and shifts to its second premise that’s been lurking in the background for the entirety of the series. You don’t have to watch DiTF for long to notice the Orwellian cues in the story. The setting of DiTF is almost an “Anime-ized” version of 1984, just with large robots and monsters. Everything has a reason, and DiTF’s world building helps to explain why humanity is in such freedom-less state. The shows distinct Orwellian cues come into full force in the second half of the show, leveraging the fallout caused by the first half of the show in order to set up and build towards the second and final climax of the show. As the tension builds and a push for freedom is made you start to get the feeling that something is off with the story. Something doesn’t feel quite right. Trigger as a studio is known for mind bending plot twists and their ability utilize those crucial twists in order to weave the story together in artful ways, however, even after over 17 episodes there really has been nothing in terms of ground breaking twists and you truly believe that the show is on a clear and defined path to its conclusion, but it’s at this moment where the show’s greatest flaw comes forth. Darling in the FranXX DOES have a pot twist, but in typical Trigger fashion instead of the twist being something related to the characters, or anything remotely close to the plot, DiTF’s plot twist follows the same line as Kill La Kill before it, where the main antagonists was a large space-faring pseudo-physical enlightened race all along, and this is where the story begins to falter. Throwing a space race in the story felt like a poorly executed Deus-Ex Machina that is trying to make the show too much like Gurren Lagann, it detracted from the impact and morals that all of the previous episodes built towards, and whilst Trigger managed to pull it off with a varying amounts of success, I can’t help but feel somewhat let down by how the show decided to close off the story. The final episode of any show is always going to be bittersweet, but as the show began to come to a close I couldn’t help but feel somewhat disappointed, disappointed by a show that I honestly felt had the potential to rival some of the best anime in regards to storytelling, that Trigger felt the need to throw in an honestly unneeded plot twist, and that it felt like everything that the show was building was broken down in a matter of a few episodes. That’s not to say that DITF has a horrible ending, the final episode is sweet, and does leave you feeling satisfied at the shows conclusion, even if there are some admittedly cliché tropes used. It just feels like DITF could’ve been so much more than it was.
Writing a good story is a difficult job, you have to balance character development, plot pacing, backstory and world building, as well as time constraints and consistency. Trigger as a studio has always managed to deliver in these departments and has shown they can indeed excel at it across a variety of formats. I personally hold Trigger’s works in high regard as they’ve managed to create some truly breathtaking stories and I honestly believe that shows like Kill La Kill and TTGL are among the best animes of all time, with Darling in the FranXX being somewhat of a homecoming for the studio; a return to roots with the Mecha genre, but in the end, whilst it succeed in telling a captivating story, it faltered in its overall execution, and ultimately make it difficult for me to call it the best anime of the year, especially with Attack on Titan season 3 just around the corner. However, I do believe that Darling in the FranXX has an honest place in the Trigger library and will have certain place with anime fans both now and to come.
People have always told me that I have expensive tastes, the truth is, I’d rather pay more for something that I know is better quality and will last me for a long time than to keep dishing out money for cheap, throwaway things. Which is why when I was in the market for some earbuds to use for my laptop whilst I’m at school, I was pretty lax on how much I was spending so long as what I was getting was going to last, and whilst the headphone market seems completely saturated with overpriced IEM’s and headphones that’ll break within a few months of ownership, when it came to my needs the choice was fairly obvious. With a helping of both brand familiarity and loyalty, I settled on a pair of Razer Hammerhead V2’s. The choice was easy for me, not just because I own and use quite a few Razer Products myself, but because I had also owned a pair of the original Hammerhead’s a few years ago. So, how does the second generation Hammerheads compare to the old ones?
The biggest difference between these new Hammerheads versus the old ones is build material, the old ones were almost entirely aluminum, from the earpieces, to 3.5mm connector, it was almost all aluminum with the only plastic piece being the in-line controls, with the new generation, only the earpieces themselves are aluminum, with Razer opting instead for a high quality plastic for the rest of the build. Whilst I can criticize Razer for switching to plastic instead of sticking with metal, the change is understandable, as the old, all metal Hammerheads were quite heavy, and caused quite a bit of pressure on the ears. The earplug arrangement is back with the standard: small, medium, large earplugs as is standard (Although some companies like Monster have more recently chosen for five sizes of earplugs, which I personally enjoy more), but also returning as standard is Razer’s “Dual-flange” earplugs that are essentially two half-height, medium sized earplugs merged into one, Razer claims that these provide better noise isolation when using them, and to be honest, they work pretty well. A gripe I’ve always had with the dual-flange design is that while they work fairly well, Razer only makes them in a medium size, meaning that people like myself who use larger tips cannot enjoy the better sound-isolation of the dual-flange tips. I’d like for Razer to include the dual-flange tips in all three sizes as for people of all ear sizes to enjoy them. The cable has also been changed form a standard round cable, to a flat, tangle-proof cable that lives up to its name quite well. It’s easy to manage, and whilst it does tend to get snagged a bit more on clothing and other objects, its unwillingness to tangle, even after being shoved in a pocket or other small space makes it a lovely IEM for everyday use. Finally, and most importantly is the Hammerhead’s sound quality; the previous generation Hammerhead’s where known to be bass heavy monsters that compromised on mids and highs in order to provide a more “Gamer-y” sound meant to amplify gunshots, explosions, and other gaming related sounds, and that same sound spread is back for the second generation. Now, I mainly use the Hammerhead’s for music and media consumption, and whilst my taste in music lends itself towards the Hammerhead’s bass heaviness, with artists like Noisia, Former, Mefjus and other Drum & Bass artists having their drops sound more impactful and energetic with the added bass, for other types of media such as YouTube videos and anime, you can definitely notice the lack of mids and highs as some dialogue sounds either mildly tinny or somewhat muffled, whilst it’s subtle it is noticeable and if you’re a fan of flatter response curves you’ll probably want to stay clear and look for something else. As for gaming performance, Razer is right when saying that this is definitely where the Hammerheads belong, after playing a few rounds of PUBG as well as trying them out in Planetside 2, the Hammerheads perform almost as well as some normal gaming headsets around this price range. Footsteps are easily distinguishable and position, crucial for games like CS:GO and PUBG. Gunshots and explosions sound clear and poppy, but have their levels kept in check as to not deafen you when you fire, and as for voice chat, the inline microphone is “not bad” at best, but you’re better off using an external mic for anything other than some VOIP chatting or phone calls.
In conclusion, the new Hammerhead’s are a good iteration on the old design, whilst I would still enjoy an all metal construction as well as a slightly flatter response curve, I can understand Razer’s choices with the Hammerhead’s. They certainly not for everyone, but those wanting studio grade quality and a completely flat response curve are likely to look elsewhere, and spend a lot more for their needs. For me, the Hammerheads are an excellent pair of IEMs and if you want something you can use for gaming without having to lug around large headphones, the Hammerheads just might be for you.
With the current pace of anime it’s sometimes good to take a step back from all the action and watch something a little slower, a little more relaxing. Whilst the winter season left us with excellent shows like Yuru Camp , recently I found myself looking towards my plan-to-watch list in order to find something easy to watch amongst the action of shows like Darling in the FranXX and the suspense and thrill of Uma Musume , once such show that caught my eye was Konohana Kitan. I’m not quite sure how the show ended up in my plan-to-watch list, but from its MAL entry it seemed like an interesting show, to say the least. It’s a show about fox-girls who work as attendants for an inn called “Konohanatei” that serves supernatural beings. I expected it to be nothing more than a simple slice-of-life show perhaps with some hints of romance sprinkled in for added
Whilst Konohana Kitan on the surface might seem like a simple slice-of-life show that’s nothing more than “Cute girls doing cute things” the real treat lies in the plot and just how special some of the stories are. The plot mainly revolves around Yuzu, a small, blonde fox-girl who’s moved from the countryside in order to work at Konohanatei, an inn for gods and other supernatural creatures of ancient Japanese mythology, a running theme throughout the show. Yuzu herself is hyperactive and clumsy, but soon finds herself fitting in after the first few episodes, it’s here where the show really begins to stretch its legs and deliver some of the best stories I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Most of the stories revolve around Japanese deities and the stories behind them; from women that weave cloth from strings pulled from the rain, to ancient goddesses of water directly responsible for the birth of Japan, to spiritual beings swiftly rushing from shrine to shrine granting the New Year’s wishes of those worthy, each new character introduced is not only memorable, but also carries their own intricate backstory extending far beyond the reach of the anime. Then there’s the tales in the episodes themselves, each story, as is the norm with most light-hearted shows, has a clear direction and moral. From self-worth, to understanding, to the value of family, each episode weaves an excellent and creative narrative that captivates those watching. One of the standout episodes of the series in my opinion is episode 8 or “The Transient Guest”. Without revealing too much, the episode manages to weave together the storylines of 3 seemingly distinct characters into a single tale of self-worth, family, and life that nearly brought me to tears at the end of it all. We get to see and experience the troubles of 3 individuals: a girl who tells lies just to get attention, a small boy having to come to terms with his adoption, and an older man who thinks that he’s lived a good enough life to accept death. All three of these seemingly separate and distinct characters all pass through Konohanatei, and, with the help of Yuzu and the others, overcome their challenges and don’t just have their lives woven together, but changed for the better. Konohana Kitan transcends boundaries of a traditional slice-of-life show and instead presents us with a show that is charming in its art style, excellent in its storytelling, and memorable in its genre.
Konohana Kitan is a show that caught me off guard, it’s a show that lured me in with its charming characters and light-heated setting and blew me away with its captivating and memorable stories, it’s a testament to the fact that you don’t need to have raging action and explosive characters to tell a good story, that not every anime has to be Attack on Titan or Gurren Lagann in order to tell an expansive story. Konohana Kitan is certainly a show that you should definitely watch and with the manga still ongoing, there’s a chance we might even get to see the tales of Yuzu and Konohanatei once again.
WARNING: This Review does contain some graphic images, most of which involve gore and death.
WARNING: This review contains major spoiler for the game! If you plan to play the game for yourself anytime soon, please do so before reading this review!
If you or someone you know is going through depression or suicidal thoughts, please get in contact with your local suicide prevention hotline! Mental health is a serious issue and should be addressed as such!
I’ve always said that video games are just as effective as literature for storytelling, that an amazing video game story should be just as enthralling as a good piece of literature, in fact, some of the most popular video game franchises derive their stories from literature. If a story is done right, it should leave the reader or player questioning some part of their reality, they should walk away from the story with a new outlook, a new perspective on life. One such game that I have had the pleasure of playing is the deceptively naïve Doki Doki Literature Club, a game that, whilst seemingly cute and ‘girly’ houses a story unlike anything I’ve experienced from nearly any video game.
DDLC took me by surprise. From the moment I opened the game I expected nothing more than either a happy dating sim, or, if the steam tags where to be believed, a dating sim with maybe a yandere character or two thrown in just to make it “Scary”. Boy, was I wrong. From the bright and happy smile of Sayori, to the shy and lovely moments of Yuri I swiftly fell in love with game’s characters, even Natsuki, whom I didn’t like at first, eventually began to grow on me. The moments when you get to bring one of the two home was one of my favourites, I remember loading a save file in order to see both of the paths for Natsuki and Yuri (Although by that point Yuri was already my favourite). What I wasn’t aware of was the shock that the end of the first act would bring. When Sayori reveals that she has depression, I couldn’t help but feel selfish and inconsiderate, I wanted to go back and do everything I could to make her happy, and so, when her depression begins to worsen I couldn’t help but feel ] empathetic, and even accepted her confession. Then, I gently opened the door. Sayori’s death was a shock, so much so I originally thought I did something wrong during the early game. Maybe there was something I missed? Maybe I chose something wrong? Maybe if all my poems are directed towards her then she won’t hang herself. Sayori’s marks the start of Act 2, a place where things rapidly deteriorate, and you soon face the realization that this is no ordinary horror game.
Before you’re even able to process the gravity Sayori’s death you are thrusted straight into act two. After witnessing a garbled mess that is the game trying to continuing without Sayori, the game makes it very clear from this point that things have gone horribly awry in many different ways. Files are written to the disk with cryptic messages and creepy poems. Backgrounds glitch out, character sprites deform at random, and glitched text with ominous black outlines replaces the normal text. The game has made it fully apparent that you are playing by its rules. There is no real choice from this point forward, you’re just along for the ride. Everything seems to be building towards a climax, then, the last school day before the festival happens, you reach the point where you are asked to take one of the girl’s home, then the game peaks. Just as you begin to finally made terms Sayori’s death, Yuri is taken from you too, except her death is perhaps more unsettling that Sayori’s, where her death was caused by her depression, Yuri’s death is caused by insanity, you watch on in horror as Yuri loses her mind, her final poem is nothing more than mindless scribbles, whilst the paper it’s written on is stained with blood on an unknown yellow liquid, you watch as she goes on about how much she is obsessed with you, about how much she wants you, and then, you are given a choice, do you accept her confession, or do you deny her? Well, just like with Sayori’s death, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of what choice you make, Yuri is unable to handle the emotions and kills herself on the spot. She pulls out a knife and buries it deep into both her stomach and heart. What makes this scene more unsettling than Sayori’s death is that you have a chance to reflect on the events that just occurred. Whilst Sayori’s death sequence was over quite quickly, after Yuri dies you are forced to spend the weekend with her, as a seemingly infinite string of glitched dialogue is displayed. You can skip this dialogue, but even when doing so, the game still takes about a minute to fast forward through it all, giving you plenty of time to stare at Yuri’s dead body as the blood slowly begins to dry and her body begins to decay, leaving you plenty of time to reflect on the events that have just taken place. Then just as the shock has begun to fade, you learn who’s really in control of all this, suddenly, Monika steps in, she “deletes” both Natsuki and Yuri from the game, and essentially “forces” the player into an empty classroom contained in an empty void. All she does is just sit at the singular desk, staring at you, occasionally talking to you about her fantasies and how much she loves you, she reveals that it was her that caused the death of both Sayori and Yuri, that she was jealous that she didn’t get a route of her own, that the game didn’t let you choose her as a girl to be loved, and that in her jealousy, she made Sayori more and more depressed, and Yuri more and more obsessive in an attempt for you to hate them and choose her, she seems completely un-remorseful of her actions and only seems to be focussed on you. You can choose to stay in the room with Monika for as long as you like, and there’s enough dialogue in the game that you’ll likely get several or more hours with Monika before you notice the dialogue looping on itself. It is here where you have a choice, stay with Monika, or dive into the game files and delete her character files, doing this will bring about the fourth and final act of the game. When Monika finds that her file has been deleted, she pleads to you out of betrayal and sadness, asking you why you deleted her, why you hate her, and why you would betray her after all she’s done to make sure that you were with her, however, out of this pity and sadness she soon begins to realize the gravity of what she’s done. She soon begins to see how selfish she really was and eventually sacrifices herself out of remorse in order to bring back the others.
DDLC is a game that lures you in with its colour characters and upbeat tones, it’s a game that grabs your attention, and keeps it long enough for you to stay, only to have your illusion broken down in front of you. What makes this game so special is how unnerving it is, it isn’t overly scary, it isn’t some Amnesia, or Outlast-esque game that keeps you terrified throughout the duration of the game. DDLC’s horror comes from the basic human instinct to know that something is slightly off. You never see the issues at first, but as the game progresses its façade begins to crack. The problems begin to show through, and as you progress further you the game’s true nature is revealed. DDLC isn’t a game that will leave you haunted and scared for days to come, it’s a game that will leave you unsettled, frustrated with your choices, and upset at the powerlessness you had at the most crucial of moments. It hits you in a way you don’t expect, it takes the notion that you are always in control and shatters it before your very eyes, and all your left with is a feeling of helplessness. It does all of this whilst still maintaining a façade of cheeriness and happiness. I honestly have never played anything like this, it is a game that, at least in my personal opinion, will stay in the minds of gamers for some time, because it challenges the very notion of choice in video games, or, as a famous video game character once said “Instead of offering you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you.” DDLC is a masterpiece of a game, and one that I hope will be remembered for years to come.
I’ll admit, Pop Punk was a genre that I looked at and thought “Sounds good, not my style though”. I always saw pop punk as just another form of pop, much to my mistake. Neck Deep’s music just has so much energy to it that when I first heard one of their songs, I was immediately hooked. I remember singing along to almost every song on “Life’s Not Out to Get You” and further more to the two new singles “Happy Judgement Day” and “Where Do We Go When We Go” which previewed their new album “The Peace and the Panic”. Now that the album is out, and I’ve been rocking it for the past few weeks, and I want to share my thoughts on this new bit of punk from Neck Deep.
The opening song “Motion Sickness” is a song that I didn’t pay too much attention to when I first heard it, but it slowly grew on me. From the opening guitar riffs to the energetic lyrics that blend the views of existentialism: “Sat on the kitchen floor, all alone, talking to a ghost about where we go, when we go” with a happier tone of living life: “Oh my friend, Just look how far come and, think twice before you go, and throw, it all, away”. The song is just full of energy and brings a massive smile to my face whenever listen to it.
“Happy Judgement Day” is one of the more political songs on the album. It’s a song that discusses the current state of today’s world. It approaches the issues with a characterful sarcasm that suits the song really well, and the lyrics are witty and purposeful, such as my favourite line from the song: “Building walls, and dropping bombs, stop the world, I’m getting off!” The song is one you can admire for its heavy guitars and playful singing, but also for its lyrics and message.
“The Grand Delusion” keeps up the energy from the previous track, but instead of being political, The Grand Delusion takes more of a classic punk sound. The song’s thrashing guitars and energetic singing from Ben make for a song that’s fun and memorable.
I’m a bit torn up about “Parachute”. It skirts the line between punk and pop in a way that I’m not quite sure works entirely well. Mind you, the song is energetic and fun to listen to, but I can tell if the band wants it to be a pop, or a punk song. The lyrics are light and bouncy like a pop song, but the instruments are heavy and energetic like a punk song. If I had to pick a “low-point” on the album, it would probably be this song, but that being said, Parachute is still a great song, and doesn’t really detract from the rest of the album in any way.
My favourite song of this album has to be “In Bloom” it has this amazing beauty to the instruments that I’d never expect from a punk band. The opening of the song, with its soft guitar layered over the distorted vocal sample about the aftermath of a nuclear attack. If you listen closely, you can hear the sample go on about how the atomic bomb is “an awesome technological paradox”, these nuances combined with the meaning behind the lyrics, that of persevering through hard times, and leaving past events behind all for an outcome bigger than oneself, makes In Bloom one of the best songs I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. I even want group it in with songs like “In Between” by Linkin Park, “26” by Paramore, and “Outside In” by Circle of Dust; songs with a certain emotional power behind them, songs that have way more emotion behind the lyrics than would expect, songs that I hold in very high regard for this reason.
“Don’t Wait” is by far the heaviest song on The Peace and the Panic, to the point where we even hear some metal-like screaming in the lyrics as well; it also happens to be quite a political song as well. The song is about the systematic corruption and deception perpetrated by the media and modern governments, and how the general populous is supposedly oblivious and ignorant to this corruption. It’s a song that urges the listeners to rise against these actions and to take matters in their own hands.
“Critical Mistakes” is apologetically more pop than punk, and that’s ok. The song is light, bouncy, and fun. It’s a song that you just want to sing along to and just enjoy. To the acoustic guitars, the playful riffs, and catchy lyrics, it’s one of those songs that just make you feel good, and make you want to smile when you hear it.
“Wish You Were Here” is the calmest song on this album, and provides a nice contrast to the upbeat that fill the album. It’s no December, but it’s a song that’s still filled with emotion. One thing that’s sets this song apart from some of the other “slow” songs by Neck Deep is that although the instrumentals are that of a softer, acoustic song, Ben’s singing sounds like he still has the rest of the band behind him, with raspier signing and strained verses. This makes song seem faster or more energetic than it is, and gives the song a tone that fits quite well with the rest of the songs on the album.
“Heavy Lies” is upbeat, fun, yet at the same time heavy song, a real banger, and perhaps one of the catchiest songs on the album in terms of lyrics. The song is giddy, bouncy, yet it still retains Neck Deep’s heaviness and style. One thing I’ve noticed how much more enjoyable the songs on this album, unlike Life’s Not Out to Get You, which had heavier songs with more emotional lyrics to them, this album seems to be more focused around easier listening, the songs on this album sounds like more passion was put into the making of album, and the band had a lot of fun writing the songs, and it really shows in songs like these.
“19 Seventy Sumthin’” Is less of a song and more of a story with some electric guitars behind it. It’s a lovely story of the creation of a family. How a boy and girl meet, fall in love, get married, raise a family, until the climax where the (grand)father ultimately (Spoiler Alert!) dies of a heart attack, and the children, in a display of family kinship and compassion, comfort the mother, ending on the lyric “’Cause that’s what family does.” This song hits you in a way you don’t expect. If you end up listening to the song, the end will emotionally hit you, you might even shed a tear or too because of it. It’s such a relatable song that almost anyone can and will make a connection with it, which makes the song that much more powerful and meaningful.
The final track on The Peace and the Panic is “Where Do We Go When We Go” It’s a song that deals with the mystery of life after death, but at the same time wanting to live life to the fullest before death happens. I love the opening of the song, and how it’s a play on the popular “Rain, Rain, Go away” rhyme. The song isn’t as climactic as some other album closer’s, but neither was the closer for Life’s Not Out to Get You. Where Do We Go When We Go is still an excellent song, it’s exciting, fun, has excellent song-writing, and makes for a fitting end to the album.
The Peace and the Panic is a more lighthearted album than Life’s Not Out to Get You, it’s an album filled with fun songs that you just can’t help but belt out and sing along to, even in its heaviest moments. It’s an album that’s meant to stand on its own, it’s to trying to be an album filled with passion and brimming with emotion, but it’s an album that’s meant to be exciting, rowdy, energetic, and fun, an album that, in my mind, captures the essence of Pop Punk and what make it great.
Trailer can be watched here
What happens when you get 4 people at the end of a busy workday in to play a simple game that could last hours? One word: Hilarity. Now, this isn’t some sort of ridiculous comedy skit, but a “Let’s Play” video that ended up lasting for well over 2 hours. Members of the popular “Achievement Hunter” YouTube channel uploaded a video on December 1st, 2016 simply called “Uno: The Movie”. A massive video of Achievement Hunter members Ryan Haywood, Gavin Free, Jeremy Dooley, Geoff Ramsey, playing the video game version of the popular card game “Uno”. Gavin had set the matches’ point limit to 500, much to the dismay of his co-workers, as close matches of the game can sometimes net less than 100 points. The result is 164 minutes (A whopping 2 hours and 44 minutes) of four guys playing Uno. As an added element to the fours’ already interesting predicament, Gavin decided to modify the rule set in order to make the games more interesting. If one plays a “7” card, the person that played it can switch hands with another player, and if a “0” card is played, then all the hands are given to the person next to them (In the direction of play). This makes for some hilarious moments during the movie, as at one point, Geoff had amassed around 17 cards, before playing a 7, and giving them all to Gavin, only having around 4. The resulting next plays involve the monster hand being shuffled around between the other players, before eventually getting whittled down into a more reasonable size. A highlight of the movie comes around about an hour and a half into the movie, were Ryan must leave the office in order to go home and visit his wife. In order to fill in his spot for the game, co-worker, who is also sometimes referred to as Ryan’s voice double, Jack Patillo is brought in, and upon taking Ryan’s spot, immediately criticizes the other three for choosing Uno over the myriads of other games they have to play. The next hours plays out as one would expect, with players amassing cards and eventually playing off, finally, at the end of the whole ordeal, Gavin Free is eventually crowned the winner, and the all members proceed to scream with relief and joy. The “movie” was quickly loved by the Achievement Hunter community, and fans of the movie were able to not only create a page on popular movie curating site IMBD, but also rate the movie to the point where it came the highest rated comedy “film” on the site. I would try to write an honest review of Uno: The Movie, but I’ll be honest, there’s not much to review. I’ve been a fan of Achievement hunter for over five years, and this video was as fun and comical as ever. It’s always fun to watch the members of AH suffer in the creative ways that they do, and the chemistry between the members of the channel are as entertaining as always (especially the Gavin/Geoff duo that has been one of the staples of the channel). If you have nearly 3 hours to spare, maybe at an airport or on a long drive, and you want something to kill the monotony of it, it might be a good way to kill the time.
You can watch the whole thing here.
People love suspense, that feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen, that something exciting, thrilling, or terrifying could happen at any moment is something that captivates audiences, and it what makes events such as professional sports (esports included) so exciting to watch. Suspense is also the lifeline in which action, horror, and thriller films live or die by. Fail to create suspense, and you fail to be effective with your audience. Suspense is important, but can easily be created; the issue is to make it effective, just having a few scenes of suspense won’t cut it in today’s films, in order to be effective in today’s media heavy world, you have to be able to keep the suspense running throughout the entirety of the film. Few movies have been able to do this properly, but if we take a step back a few years we will find that one movie in particular movie was able to pull this off better than almost any other movie to date. That film is the “almost-classic” film Se7en.
Se7en follows the tale of two New York detectives in a riveting quest to catch a serial killer as he plots to torture and murder a person based off of the “Seven deadly sins”, a piece from the Bible, where God reveals the seven actions he finds the most deplorable: gluttony, greed, sloth (laziness), haughtiness (self-centered), lust, wrath, and envy. (Proverbs 6:16-19) The film’s pace is what creates all the suspense, it’s a slow burn, the movie starts off very slow, character development is set aside in order to create the atmosphere needed. The scenes of where character development takes place feel awkward and uneasy, but not in a way that works against the movie. The suspense still carries through the scenes of character development, it is never set aside, no scene in the movie feels safe or without suspense. What makes the movie so good is when the suspense really starts to build. About two-thirds into the movie is when the first scene with real action occurs. Using some connections within the FBI, the detectives are able to narrow down the list of possible suspects, when they confront the apartment of their suspect, a man in a trench coat pulls a gun on them and opens fire, and this leads to a 5 minute long chase scene in which the killer manages to escape. The movie begins to pick up its pace here, the killings begin to increase, and as the serial killer begins to edge closer and closer to his final plan, the detectives begin to become more stressed and jaded. The climax of the movie is where all the suspense boils over, we come face-to-face with the killer, the killer’s plan is close to an end, and we see what all the suspense of the movie has come to, before coming to a sudden and abrupt end. The ending if the movie is one of shock, the movie ends so swiftly after the climax, that you almost feel that there should be more to it, however, I feel that to extend the movie is to lessen the impact that the abrupt ending has, as it allows for it keeps the audience at the edge of their seat, even in the final moments of the film.
Se7en is a movie that will be remembered for its endless suspense and gritty storytelling; it is a movie that excels in keeping its audience riveted to their seats, biting their nails, and locked in a state of suspenseful fear, even up until the final moments of the film. It is a movie all films in this genre to aspire to be, a slow burn, with meaningful action, that’s purposeful, but never over-the-top, the essence of a true thriller movie.
Sounds are what make a movie. Having a good soundtrack as well as good sound effects are crucial to making a good movie. If your soundtrack doesn’t live up to the scenes in the movie, then the atmosphere of the scene can be lost. Sound effects are equally important as a poor sounds can drastically reduce the viewing experience of the film. One genre that is the most dependant on proper sound structure is the Science Fiction genre. Because Sci-Fi movies often deal with futuristic elements and settings, most sound artists have to be able design sounds that enhance the futuristic setting, without making them seem overly unrealistic or silly. The common tropes of these sounds usually involve harsher synths which are usually very unique, sometimes weird sounds in order to push an idea of futurism. A good example of sound effects used designed in a way that isn’t over the top is in the sci-fi movie “Minority Report”. For the rest of the article I will be referencing this movie in order to show my point.
Minority Report isn’t a movie set in the far future, but rather one set in a near future, only about 40 years ahead. There are some elements in the movie that seem over the top, but for the most part, the futurism is reasonable, with some of the technologies in the movie, like self-driving cars and motion controlled screens, becoming more of a reality today. The sounds of movie are, at least for the most part, grounded in reality. The “spider-crew” scene near the middle of the film is special because it the drones used in the scene don’t sound overly futuristic, sure their movements seem a bit overdone, but the sounds they made were only that of the clinks when their legs hit the ground, likewise, the use of conventional weaponry and not some futuristic elctro-gun-lazer-thing, as seen in most sci-fi films are a nice touch, as the sound of a gunshot is much more recognizable and iconic than that of a more futuristic gun. The sounds of the screens and computers in the movie also sound more like real computers today, they don’t make any weird noise, and don’t even look all that different. My one criticism is how the cars are portrayed in the movie. Transportation vehicle, be it spaceships or cars in sci-fi films are always given some outlandish noise that is supposed to show some sort of super-efficient engine that runs on unobtanium or whatever futuristic propulsion system exist in 3023 or whatever year the film takes place, it’s a shame to see Minority Report follow a similar trend, as, even 15-ish years ago, electric cars were looking more and more like the future of transportation at the time, especially with the fairly popular GM EV-1 existing around the same time. There also nicer touches when it comes to the sound effects in the film, mainly revolving around the police’s gear in the film. There is always the sound of a small “charge up” sound that exists whenever the police forces in the film always take out a part of their gear in the movie, the sounds are more muted and subtle than in other sci-fi films, but it allows for greater impact in some scenes, especially near the end of the movie, where our main protagonist gets arrested. The scene is also quite impactful as it takes place whilst the audio in the film is almost muted, with only the slight ringing in the background as if someone has either been near an explosion or has been shot. When used right, this effect adds so much more impact and suspense to a scene (The confrontation scene between Carnegie and Eli in “The Book of Eli”, a personal favourite of mine, is a good example of this effect being used). Minority Report is a good example of a movie that uses its sound effects to its full advantage. Its sounds are effective without being over-the-top or cliché, while at the same time it has an excellent story with good pacing.
As stated before, sound effects are crucial to a movie, especially a movie like Minority Report. Sci-Fi films often suffer from outlandish and often downright silly sounds that detract from the viewing experience, but when done right, it can create a film that’s engaging, action packed, immersive, and even make a normal film a classic.
With the school coming to a close, I'll soon find myself with a lot more free time, and with that probably a lot more blog posts here. Be prepared, as the coming week will see a flood of blog posts, both school related, and personal. With summer just around the corner, things are about to get a whole lot more active here.
Mischief, rebellion, cunning, and impulsiveness, all qualities of teens. When let loose, youth will find a way to get into all sorts of trouble. At least that what most adults would think, they would rather see youth grow up ordered and respectful. This sounds like the premise for an excellent comedy movie doesn’t it? This is exactly the premise for one of the most recognizable and iconic comedy films of all time: Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.
“FBDO”, as I’ll lazily refer to it as for the rest of this article, has had an undoubted effect on the people ever since its release in the 1980’s Ferris and his friend’s antics throughout Chicago have entertained people throughout the ages. The movie has been especially popular with youth, even 30 years after its release, but why? Why do teens find the movie relatable and enjoyable, even 30 years after its release? The argument can be made that although culture is always changing, the events and dialogue in FBDO is still quite similar to that of today. Another reason why I believe that this movie is so popular is how it appeals to, and romanticizes a common dream of people, both adult and youth alike: Skipping a day of school/work just to go out and have some true fun. Most people have had this thought cross their mind at some point, and the adventures of Ferris and his friends allowed people to see the fun and enjoyment that could be had in a day like this. It connects to our inner child, to just be ourselves for one day, and FBDO captures this idea better than any movie of its kind. Although the movie does show its age in some ways, the comedy is still fresh for today’s viewers. Without going too much into the respective concepts, the movie strikes a good balance between its points of high comedy and low comedy. The moments of low comedy provide an excellent use of shock to excite the viewers (Especially with the scenes of the school secretary as well as with Ferris’ parents and their discourse about his sister), while also using context and dramatic irony to also deliver comedy. The whole comedic structure of the movie is a real treat and allows for some excellent scenes that allow for some great laughs.
FBDO is a movie that undoubtedly deserves the title of a classic film; not only does it tick all the boxes when it comes to comedy, but it practically created the boxes to begin with. The adventures of Ferris and his friends, show that both high and low comedy can not only work, but can exist In near perfect harmony.
Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find various articles about all sorts of topics. Politics, Music, Video Games, eSports, and many other topics I feel the need to write about.