Anime Review: Haikyu!!, Seasons 1, 2 and 3

Details: The anime first aired in 2014. There are currently three seasons. There are twenty-five episodes in seasons one and two. Season three has ten episodes and is called Karasuno High School vs Shiratorizawa Academy. Each episode is about twenty-four minutes long.

I’m mostly embarrassed at how much I enjoy sports anime. It’s pretty cookie-cutter stuff at this point, but I fall for it every time. First, I wonder to myself how an anime about basketball, rugby, golf, bicycling, or volleyball (in this case) could possibly be interesting. Then I watch a few episodes to see what’s going on. Before I know it, I get sucked into the hype and am binge watching the whole series. Despite my awareness of this weakness, the same thing happened again for Haikyu!!.

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Anime Review: Attack on Titan (or Shinkgeki no Kyojin), Season 2

Details: Season two aired in 2017. Twelve episodes this season.

“Eren.”

The first season of Attack on Titans was one of the most popular, successful anime’s in recent memory. Season two succeeds in continuing the hype, the horror, and the violent gratification that started in season one. No spoilers as usual.

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Video Game Review: Dota 2

Details: Initially released in 2013, but constantly updated and patched. I have almost 1600 hours clocked into this game. You can play for free through Steam platform on the PC. Current patch is 7.06c. Internet connection is required.

A while back I wrote a lengthy post on Dota 2, but I never gave it a review. A few years have passed and I think it’s about time I gave it a score. Given the constant patches coming out, I’ll try to go a little into the current state of the game. I also plan to write reviews for the other MOBA’s where I’ll go into what differentiate each game from the others, but since this is the first MOBA review, I won’t really do too much of that here.

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Anime Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

Details: Released in 2016. Thirty-nine episodes, each episode is about twenty-three minutes long without commercials. Watched with Japanese audio and English subtitles.

Diamond is unbreakable is the fourth season of the Jojo’s Bizzarre Adventure anime. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a very popular, over the top anime that has a lot of action, a lot of comedy, and a lot of camp.

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TV Show Review: Legion, Season 1

Details: Released in 2017. Aired on FX. Eight episodes this season at around forty minutes per episode. Stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza.

As always, no spoilers in this review except a few sentences on the premise.

This show is exactly what I needed. After the disappointment of Iron Fist, I needed some superhero goodness. This show isn’t only a comic book show, this show plays homage to a lot of imagery from film history and provides cinematography that comes close to the Avant Garde films of old but stays coherent enough to tell a thrilling, fun, trippy-as-hell story.

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Comedy Show Review: “Deep in the Heart of Texas: Dave Chappelle Live at Austin City Limits” and “The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium”

Details: Two hour-long shows of Dave Chappelle doing stand-up comedy in front of a live audience. Aired on Netflix.

I recently watched an interview on Jimmy Kimmel of Dave Chappelle for his new comedy specials that are now on Netflix. In the interview, Chappelle says that the specials were filmed a while ago and not specifically for Netflix. If you watch the shows, you can tell that the issues and headlines referenced are somewhat old. Even still, this was a great two shows. Additionally, Dave Chappelle got paid sixty million dollars from Netflix for these two prerecorded shows and for a third show that has yet to be made.

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TV Show Review: Star Wars: Rebels, Season 3 Episode 15, “Trials of the Darksaber”

A while back I decided to stop writing reviews for individual episodes because there were just too many and there aren’t really that many developments between episodes. This review is an exception because the episode was unusually good.

In this episode, the rebel crew discuss the discovery of the Darksaber, an ancient weapon that symbolizes vast political power on Sabine’s home world, Mandalore. With the saber, Sabine can rally her people can gather an army with which the rebels can use against the Empire. To do so, Kanan must train Sabine to use the Darksaber so as to defeat those who would challenge Sabine for the political power the Darksaber grants.

This was a great episode for many reasons. Firstly, they went into aspects of Jedi and Star Wars history that go as far back as thousands of years. This was such an Easter egg for fans of the Knights of the Old Republic video games because references are made to the Jedi- Mandalorian war, arguably turning a large portion of the video games into canon.

Secondly, we get to learn about Sabine. Sabine’s back story has not truly been delved into to this degree and her story is heartbreaking. It’s the story of how those you love ignore you and abandon you no matter how loudly you try to protect them. It’s a story of how your family ignores you. It’s explained in a few lines, but I found it moving.

Lastly, I enjoyed the relationship between teacher/mentor/master and student/mentee/apprentice. I love these types of stories. Most of the time when you think of relationships between people it’s familial or romantic. The relationship between a master and an apprentice is so similar yet so different. There is nothing romantic or sexual about it. The relationship is in a big way selfless. This is a relationship where one person tries to truly teach and help someone else. Unlike many relationships, it’s a relationship that tries to grant power rather than take it. And through this training, both teacher and student perhaps learn truths about themselves. It’s a unique bond that I enjoyed watching very much.

Overall, a great episode and I can’t wait for the next one. I’ll still write an overall review for the season, but I just wanted to comment on my enjoyment of this episode.

Score: 8/10

TV Show Review: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, “Sichuan,” Season Eight Episode Three.

I am an unabashed fan of Anthony Bourdain television. I’ve pretty much watched every episode of every series Anthony Bourdain has been responsible for. Strangely enough, it never occurred to me to write anything about them… until now. This is largely because in this episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain spends almost the entirety of this episode torturing his good friend, Eric Ripert.

For those who are unfamiliar with Ripert, Eric Ripert is the executive chef and part owner of Le Bernardin. Le Bernardin is a three Michelin starred restaurant in New York City that specializes in seafood. Accordingly, Eric Ripert is one of the most well known and respected French chefs in New York City, in North America, and in the western world. How wonderful is it then that we get to see him suffer for forty five minutes from spiciness and alcohol poisoning? And Bourdain does torture the hell out of Rupert in this episode to hilarious effect. They have a real bromance brewing and it’s really fun watching them make off color jokes and constantly make fun of each other.

Parts Unknown episodes generally try to give the flavor of a place with a heavy emphasis on food. Some episodes try to show the opposing views of an issue relevant to that location. That obviously does not happen here. There’s no general freedom to publicly criticize the government in China. Instead we just get some humorous scenes that show off some of the food in Sichuan. This was still really entertaining, even though I would have liked some commentary on the politics of the country and the opinion’s of Chinese citizens. On the other hand, there’s no point in asking for opinions if it means putting Chinese citizens at risk of “disappearing” or getting sent to jail. Especially if it’s just for a some travel and leisure show on CNN.

Anyways, it’s a fun episode and really educational. I’ve had a lot of authentic, Chinese style Chinese food (in contrast to American style Chinese food, e.g. Chinese takeout), and I’ve never been good at verbalizing the differences between Chinese and American food. This show definitely helped in expressing that difference. Most Americans I know who’ve tried authentic, traditional Chinese food generally find it disgusting because the goals of western cuisine and Chinese cuisine are different. Where Americans like the texture of battered, fried, fatty food to what many in this world would consider a disgusting degree, Chinese people like gelatinous, liquidy, chewy, and meaty food to a degree that many in this world would consider disgusting. This is why so many beloved Chinese dishes consist of sauce covered organs or other chewy parts of the animals (like pig ears, chicken feet, intestines, etc.).

It’s realizations likes this that make this show so interesting. There are few shows that are as successful at accurately conveying foreign places in a digestible, hour long program for American audiences. It’s just fun to learn about new places and see things that you would not see unless you purchased a plane ticket, flew over for a while, and knew someone who actually knew the nuances of the area and was willing to show you around. Thanks to Parts Unknown, I get to experience something similar with substantially less hassle.

Score: 8/10

Anime Review: Naruto Shippuden Episodes 469 through 479

It’s that time again. The fillers are over and Naruto has returned to tell the main story line. It is egregiously insulting the number of fillers that Naruto has. There are hundreds of episode of filler for every couple main story arc episodes and it is just painful to watch. Every time I try to get into this show, I get rebuffed and horrified by the uninteresting, painfully boring fillers this shows comes up with. I want to quit this show.

The only problem with that is that the episodes that are not filler, are fucking amazing. Take these last ten episodes for instance. They were so freaking good. The action, the animation, the emotion, and the music. Gosh, the quality of these episode only help show how shitty the fillers are.

And the music, my goodness. There are just some songs that Naruto has that whenever they are played, I just get choked up. It’s not even fair. I hear the notes, then the tears come. Sigh. Why do the fillers have to suck so bad.

In case you’re not caught up, Naruto and Sasuke have to save the world from some world ending villain. That’s all well and good and provides closure for Obito. The real conclusion comes after they save the world and they find out Sasuke is still an evil jerk. Since Naruto and Sasuke are the only two conscious people with god like ninja powers, they go off to fight their final battle and settle up the conflict they’ve had this entire series.

Since this is the final battle, you must know that the animation is top quality for this fight scene. It’s literally two episodes of action, mixed with tears as we take a look back at the history of the characters and of the series as a whole. It’s hard to believe I first watched Naruto around a decade ago. The makers of this show are well aware that the fans have stuck through this series for years and take us back to old, nostalgic, sad, and happy moments in the series.

With that said, Sakura is still mostly useless. Sasuke’s motivations for his actions are still stupid. It’s mainly Naruto that makes the most sense and is the most moving part of these episodes.

Score: 8/10 Loved these episodes. Glad I skipped all the stupid ass filler that came before. After checking the preview for episode 480, it looks like a bunch more fillers are coming. I’m going to go right back to ignoring those episode until the primary story arc returns, which will likely be the end of the series.