Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTY

Yay. Zelda won GOTY at the Game Awards 2017! *claps* yay :3

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*this is probably going to be very pro Zelda, so be prepared*

I’m happy. I haven’t played all the games nominated, but I’m happy. The general consent seems to be: thank god PUBG didn’t win. Zelda? Fine with me, it’s not PUBG. I’m actually very glad a lot of people feel this way, because it just feels wrong to even nominate a game that hasn’t even seen a full release yet and is basically still in testing phase.

In general the reception of Zelda as Game of the Year seems to be quite good.

Then there’s the Horizon-fans complaining Horizon didn’t win anything and I’ve seen some individuals from different fan bases saying Zelda just won because it’s Zelda and everything Zelda is just being praised and loved because fans blindly love Zelda.

First of all: I don’t own a PS4. Therefore, I didn’t play Horizon. What I know about this game is, that it’s very good and therefore I think it’s sad it didn’t win anything. It probably deserved to win at least something.

Second: the assumption that Nintendo fans just blindly love everything Zelda because of the name is just plain wrong. We’ve seen in the past several times where Zelda was met with huge criticism or downright hate, because it didn’t deliver what fans wanted.The Zelda franchise is one of the highest acclaimed franchises in video game history and has produced top-tier games of outstanding quality for over 30 years now most notably in its main series on home consoles. Therefore, expectations for any new Zelda release are astronomical high and what happens if these expectations are not fully met, we’ve recently seen in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword in particular. There’s always hardcore fans defending everything, that’s normal, but I believe there’s a fair share of fans who are very critical towards Zelda, because they are very spoiled by the average quality of the franchise.

Wind Waker was met with a storm of rage due to its cartoony graphics. It took fans years to come to terms with it and appreciate the outstanding game behind it. When it was initially released? Oh boy, that was a riot, because everyone expected realistic graphics that Nintendo didn’t deliver. The game itself wasn’t even bad. Sure, it’s not perfect: travel can be boring over longer distances and the triforce quest was just way too long, both issues got fixed in the HD version. Other than that, the game was truly awesome. It was the art direction alone, that made fans hate on this game. And hate they did.

Other example: Skyward Sword. And it was, once again, primarily one feature, that made fans collectively hate this game. Fans. Not media. I believe this game was actually rated a bit too high by the general media, but is rated way too low by fans – even today. The feature in question is… motion control. Contrary to what many people try to make other’s believe: it works fine. I’ve played it and barely had issues with it at all. I’m not trying to defend a bad game, I’m trying to be honest and I can honestly say: the motion control worked great for me. Many gamers hated it for the fact alone that is was mandatory and you couldn’t play the game with a classic controller. The other problem with this game is that it’s not the game fans were asking for. Around the time when Skyward Sword was released, fans have been asking for an open world Zelda for quite a while already and got a very linear playing-it-save type of Zelda with lot’s of handholding, which disappointed fans even further.

I personally believe Skyward Sword was a fantastic game and a very solid Zelda with some nice boss fights, enjoyable worlds, great dungeons and interesting items (I love the beetle). Just like I think Mario 3D World is a fantastic game and a very solid Mario. Both games were met with lukewarm receptions by gamers -Skyward Sword more negative than 3D World- simply because they weren’t the type of games fans wanted.

Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey both are the games fans have been asking for a long time and were both met with euphoria from fans – so much, I believe fans tend to be more forgiving to these games, because they’re both basically 100% fanservice. This is Nintendo listening to their fans and giving them exactly what they wanted and people are responding accordingly.

And both games are fantastic! So much, they both got nominated for GOTY at the Game Awards, which I believe was very well deserved. I’ve been a long time Zelda-fan, but I’ve been playing Mario platformer even longer. I’ve been playing Mario for 20+ years across 7 generations of home consoles and their handheld counterparts. Both franchises have been a huge part of my gaming life and I hope to be as fair as possible, even though I personally just prefer 2D or 2+1/2 D platformer over 3D collect-A-thons, because I love tight 2D platforming the most – which is the reason why I prefer Donkey Kong Country over Mario, btw. I usually try to appreciate the good in games, even if they’re personally not to my liking. I know there’s a lot of people who’d be so mad at me for saying this, but at one point, I got bored by Mario Odyssey.

Mario Odyssey is a consistently great game and getting all moons is one hell of a hard  quest. While I thought most moons during the regular playthrough are too easy to get, there’s some real challenges, if you try to collect them all. The game doesn’t really has any low points, it has a very high average quality without any real dips downwards, but also without many spikes upwards. My one and only big moment in this game was the festival in New Donk City. That was plain awesome, no question and New Donk City by itself was the most enjoyable part for me due to all the vertical platforming involved. I also loved the pipes that sent you to these very hard platforming sections post game. There’s nothing better than finally clearing these mini-levels after 20+ tries, there’s finally some actual sense of accomplishment involved, like… I earned that moon. Oh, and while we’re at it, I applaud to the game for calling them moons in mushroom kingdom, even though they’re clearly stars.

However, in a way, Mario Odyssey was playing it kind of save. At least compared to Zelda. Mario Odyssey was basically Mario 64 2.0, it was the Mario 64 successor fans wanted ever since. Since the first time I was able to get my hands on na demo, I’ve been saying: guys, this game does not reinvent the wheel, it’ very much Mario like we know and love, nothing more and nothing less. After playing this game, I still believe the very same about it. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy or appreciate the new features, like the 8bit segments in the stages or the capture feature that basically replaces power ups. Mario Odyssey is an outstanding game, it just doesn’t dare to go one step further.

A step Zelda dared to take. Just like Odyssey, Breath of the Wild is still very much Zelda, but with the formula we’ve come to know for such a long time removed for the most part. There’s still hearts to collect, the Master Sword to find and the Princess to rescue, but they turned it from a linear formulated experience to a free open world game. By going back to the very first Zelda and take inspiration from modern open world games, Nintendo nailed their very first try at making an open world game out of one of their most well-known and beloved franchises. And like I said: fans are critical about Zelda. If this didn’t work out, the backlash would’ve been huge. But it worked out.

Once again this game has a very high average quality with more drips downwards than Odyssey, but also with more spikes upwards. For all the weaker parts of the game, there are others done so phenomenally well, they overshine the bad ones. In terms of game design, even though I didn’t play every game this year obviously, but the game design in BotW is insanely good. The physics engine, the game mechanics, the freedom and the lack of handholding it all turns this game into a truly great experience.

BotW dared to be more daring, but was executed so well, the flaws of this game are simply being forgiven. I hope Nintendo can work on the remaining flaws of BotW and make the successor even greater, because I believe BotW might have just managed to do what the original Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time did before: change the way we look at games. Especially the world as one huge living interactive being  has not been done quite like this before with so many possibilities given to the player due to a phenomenal physics engine and something very simple like the ability to climb everything. Whatever you think should be possible, is possible and that opens up a whole new dimension of gameplay. This goes beyond a fish fleeing from you or arrows flying in a naturalistic curve and being collectible even under water.

BotW pushed the genre forwards, a genre it just entered. It also pushed the franchise forwards and gave it a much-needed overhaul. I don’t think Nintendo will entirely drop the classic Zelda formula, but it would be nice to see different kinds of Zelda coexisting alongside each other.

I hope the successor to this game has better item management. Going through all the pages of food and gear and weapons to whatever you’re searching for at the moment was annoying. I would also love to see traditional dungeons back. I liked the approach of huge 3D puzzles, but 4 traditional dungeons would’ve been more to my liking. And for the love of god, maybe one day we’ll have a Zelda with an actual great story and characters? Maybe? I’m supporting the weapon durability aspect, btw.

And we definitely need more Sidon.

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Damn, this post got way longer than I anticipated…
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Dragonball Super

Am I in a litte bit of a Dragonball phase right now? Well… maybe, yes.

This is one of the anime I’ve grown up with, so it’s quite amazing to see it still being popular today and I have to admit Dragonball Super hits the comedy part quite well. dbz-kamitokamiUnfortunately the animation quality and layout of the fights aren’t as good as I hoped them to be, even more so after the amazing job they did with Kami to Kami. I’ve admittedly never been much of a fan of the movies, but most of them are not canon anyway, so that might be part of it.

Kami to Kami was the first movie in a long time, where Akira Toriyama actually worked on himself and it shows. A lot. This movie is a work of art, it’s absolutely on point: the animation, the quality, the comedy, the characters (well, most of them anyways) and above everything else the main fight between Beerus and Super Saiyan God Goku is absolutely breathtaking. And apparently I’m not the only one who thought that way, because it was popular enough to spawn another movie Resurrection of F and ultimately resulted in the making of Dragonball Super.

Unlike GT Super is considered canon, because Akira Toriyama is working on it himself, but as far as I know he contributes the general plot points an the rest is up to the dragonball-super-stream-cover-Aa0YhnIaCpDgbuFxBWF89fPPIGXK36LE_220x330animation team, which leaves a lot of room. As for the original series and Z they had the manga to rely on, which they don’t have this time and unfortunately it shows in the way the fights are constructed. It’s still fun to watch most of the time and I know the minute-long screaming in Z was annoying, but the fights aren’t as exciting as they used to be and I’m already overlooking substantial drops in animation quality on the character models, I’m just talking about the fights themselves.

One of the characters who’s standing out the most in Super is, in my opinion, Vegeta. They’re doing such an amazing job with him and walk a pretty nice line between awkwardly funny and dead serious. Also, he’s now pretty much a much better father than Goku ever was and shows genuine interest in his family, that he apparently came to love for real. It doesn’t really hurt we finally get to know why Goku took ChiChi and Vegeta Bulma and Piccolos reaction to that was just plain priceless.

Bulma and ChiChi are both very headstrong women and that’s exactly the reason why Vegeta and Goku got attracted to them, because that’s apparently what a Saiyan is looking for in a woman, because she needs to be able to handle a Saiyan family. Remember how many people said they’re bowing their heads to Bluma and ChiChi (even though the latter is annoying as fuck) for being able to raise Saiyans? Yeah, basically, if they wouldn’t haven been as headstrong as they are, Goku and Vegeta would’ve never gone for them.

Now, this is just my theory, but I personally believe Goku does not differenciate between his love for his family and his friends. He knew instinctively this particular women would be able to raise his children, so he went for it. I’m not saying he doesn’t love her, tumblr_inline_mu6o3jZqRb1qzj8pubut I think he loves her and his sons the same way he loves his friends. I mean, his relationship with Gohan is closer to that of being best buddies instead of being father and son. Also, excuse me, but I don’t think Goku has ever been a good father for Gohan. I believe he’s somewhat trying with Goten, but that’s nowhere near the level of what we’re seeing from Vegeta, who refused to leave because his baby was about to be born soon – and not just out of fear for Bulma, but genuine interest in his child. Goku? He didn’t even understand why that’s a problem. I actually felt sad when Vegeta wasn’t allowed to name his daughter, because it looked like he was really looking forward to giving her a strong saiyan name.

I’m not saying Vegeta is the perfect dad, because he neglected Trunks a lot, too. I’m justVegeta-600x330 saying he’s a better father than Goku, who always saw Gohan more as sparring partner and nakama to save the world, instead of a son. Heck, I’m supporting the guys saying Piccolo has always been more of a father figure for Gohan than his actual father. The father-of-the-year awards goes to Gohan anyway, who’s doing the most amazing job with Pan.

What brings me to the one person whom I think got heavily downgraded and that’s Videl. I have to be honest, I loved her when she was introduced: she was strong, she was a tomboy and she knew what she wanted. She complimented the awkward Gohan in the most amazing way, they turned out to be such am awesome duo. Unfortunately… she got the ChiChi-treatment. I’m just glad they didn’t turn her into the same nagging mess of a woman that ChiChi is, but she’s basically been downgraded to just being Gohans wife with their child. Where’s the headstrong teenager we all knew and loved? Now she’s sitting at a round table with Bulma and ChiChi talking about how she always loved girly things, too. What? WHEN? WHERE? That never happend in Z, they’re just trying to make her more domestic, which is sickening me.

495ed152bee288f0df3d1787144736ce39d740e7_hqI honestly would’ve preferred if Videl would’ve gotten the 18 treatment. Sure, she got domestic as well, she’s madly in love with her husband and daughter, but she NEVER lost her bite. She’s still kicking ass and neveryone knows not to mess with her. She’s even representing Universe 7 in the tournament of power and doing a damn well job at it. I’m sure ChiChi can still fight, I mean she even trained Goten up into a Super Saiyan and I’m sure Videl can also still fight, but it’s not worth anything anymore. Their place is being a wife and raising their kids and nothting else, that’s what their characters have been reduced to and that’s what’s annoying me. I really miss that temperatment of her’s that Vicel had, when she stood up to Gohan.

I’m not saying being a fulltime wife and mom is a bad thing per se. I’m just disappointed all of her other personaly traits got thrown out of the window. It’s like, dude Gohan, who did you marry again? And… why? Didn’t you like her for being independent, headstrong and reckless?

As for Gohan, he’s always been against fighting and only did so when he was forced to. Dragon-Ball-Super-Episode-90-ReviewHe’s always been a sweet natured guy by heart, so being a loving dad totally suits him. From all the demi-saiyans, he’s probably the one who’s most aware of being a child of two worlds and he probably has the two most different hearts beating in his chest. He’s got the full figthing potential from his saiyan side, but the sensitive heart of a human. Wow, great thing he arguably had the worst childhood ever… and people are honestly surprised he stops training and fighting every second he gets.

I mean, sure, I’ve dedicated an entire post about the lost potential of Gohan, because he’s been buffed drastically for Goku to take the spotlight and it hurt so damn much seeing him useless, because you KNOW he could be the strongest. Piccolo just recently confirmed his potential to be “bottomless”, Gohan could be Earth’s strongest weapon, if he wished so. I’m really glad he decided to not completely abadoning his saiyan heritage and started training again. And guess what? He’s already strong enough to force Goku into his strongest form, but what I think is even better for him, is that he’s trying for new heights, but without relying on the Super Saiyan forms they’re been abusing ever since Freeza on Namek.

Dragon-BallI’m always a sucker for meeting characters from the original series. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, but I just love seeing those characterst hat have been there since the very beginning, when Dragonball was a martial arts fantasy adventure and before it was turned into a superpower Sci-Fi festival. I admit I’m a huge fan of the Dragonball saga before Z, before there were aliens and when humans were still able to hold their own against the protagonists. When we had talking dinosaurs participating in the great tournament and a protagonist with a tail that nobody gave a fuck about, because… why? Between flying and talking cats, shapeshifting pigs and humanoid wolves, a kid with a monkey tail doesn’t even need much of an explanation, you just accept it as being part of this fantasy world.

 

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Ballroom e Youkoso Anime and Manga Spoilers

Damn those necks.

Okay, so with Ballroom e Youkoso my arguably most anticipated anime of the year was released and we’re 5 episodes in and far enough to say something of substance.

First of all, I love the art direction. I know, the necks are a little bit too long, but overall I think it looks absolutely gorgeous and the animation quality is pretty nice. I was hoping for fully animated dances in the same way Yuri on Ice fully animated the figure scating programms, but that’s very unusual for anime, so I guess I kind of knew this wouldn’t happen? It’s still a tiny bit disappointing, though.

They make use of freeze frames quite a bit and while that’s not unusual in anime at all, the manga does such an amazing job of capturing the movement and power of dancing, I actually think the anime looks a little bit too static sometimes. I’ve seen much worse, don’t get me wrong, something in me just screams: “This is not right.” when the manga is creating better movement with still images than it’s animated counterpart. It’s still good! I just think it could be better.

It’s been such a long time that I’ve seen the start of the story, it made me realize a lot of stuff and it’s really funny seeing all the new people react to the characters, who you know will not be what they seem to be when they are introduced, but first things first.

I noticed I’m really missing Chii-chan so much, not just because she’s one of my favorite characters and I totally ship her with Tatara, but also because she’s giving Tatara a real challenge and brings out his worse. She makes him suffer, she makes him question his ablilities, but she also makes him move forward the absolute most. Right now in these first 5 episodes, everything came so easy to Tatara, he’s basically been given everything on a silver tablet with the best wishes from the Chef so far and it will continue this way until Chii-chan arrives and messes with everything Tatara thought he knew.

Tatara is a total beginner and yes he first struggles a bit with the Waltz, but he gets his lessons for free, he is taught by literally the best dancer in Japan, he gets his suit for free, he gets to dance with two very experienced and advanced girls to learn from and has the ability to learn extreamly fast by seeing and remembering basically everything about dancing. Explaining doesn’t work very well for him, but seeing it does.

I really didn’t notice it that much when I was reading the manga, but Tatara is very priviledged – and has the balls to try and go after Shizuku as a partner, because he has a crush on her, even though she’s partnered with Hyodo. I don’t want to sound too mean, because he’s still training a lot, even at home, but I stand by my words, he has it very easy at the start and it takes until Chii-chan arrived that he’s actually forced to struggle for real for the first time.

I guess having it easy at the beginning makes up for all the struggle he has to go through with Chii-chan, because once it starts, it’s not going to stop. Tatara learns to suffer and is forced to face his weak spots, but creates something very unique together with Chii-chan. In a way, Chii-chan is the 3rd experienced & advanced girl he gets to pair up with, but she’s his first real partner and unlike Mako and Shizuku, Chii-chan has a whole damn lot of learning to do herself, because she always danced the male part and never the female part. So, you end up with a beginner who doesn’t know how to lead and an advanced dancer who doesn’t know how not to lead. Perfect combination for trouble. Awesome.

It’s actually even more awesome that in recent chapters they’ve started to discover a way to work together and bring out both their strenghts in their dance. I hope they can move forward from being the dysfunctional couple in desync to being a real unity, because in the rare moments they were, they were freaking unstoppable. They complement each other so well, there’s no way I want to see Tatara leave her for Shizuku at one point. If that’s ever going to happen, I’m dropping this manga, Tatara and Chii-chan absolutely need to stay together.

Talking about staying together, I love Hyodo and episode 4 made me realize again just why. This manga/anime has a great talent and that is: introducing an antagonist as some evil guy, that ends up in a friendly rivalry with the main protagonist. It happend with Hyodo, who’s some kind of mentor/elder brother to Tatara in manga right now and it also happend with Gaju. It’s so funny seeing all the people watching the anime complaining over Hyodo, wishing he would break up with Shizuku for Tatara’s sake and now they’re upset about Gaju “snatching Shizuku away” from Tarara being the mean guy… when it fact they all have their partners, they all will stay with their partners, Tatara will get his own partner and they will all become pretty good friends.

They are still rivals, but I love that they’re friends at the same time in a very healthy way. They do shenaningans, they mess up, they tease each other, but everything is on friendly terms and they rely onto each other when needed, too. In case of Hyodo, these could very well be his first actual frindships and Gaju? I mean, he’s even messing with Tatara in school all the time, they’re partners in crime.

In shounen, and Ballroom e Youkoso is a shounen, you usually have the main protagonist and his close ring of friends, his nakama. In case of Tatara, his “nakama” are his rivals, wich is kind of cool to be honest. I’d be interesting to see if Masami joins this ring of friends/rivals as well. So far, he tried his best not to and be the long wolf. He’s a very different type of guy and I think he might always stay more reserved, but I think he could very well become friends with the rest of the group.

And by the way, Akira is pretty ingenius as a comic relieve. She’s not just funny in the way she interacts with Chii-chan, there’s a very serious background to all of this and I hope to see more of her. Not because she’s gay for Chii-chan, remember I ship TataraxChii-chan, but because of her great dynamic with Chii-chan.

Before I finish this, I need to get this out of my system: You don’t teach Slow Foxtrott to a beginner. You… don’t. It’s too hard, even the basic steps are long and complicated, it’s a dance for advanced dancers and nothing Tatara should learn after Waltz as his first dance ever.

Skip Beat 248

I don’t even know if I ever mentioned Skip Beat, but I’ve been reading it ever since my brother’s first girlfriend introduced me and that was ages ago. It’s quite amazing how little this manga developed story wise in this period of time.

skip_beat_44_8You see, when I stated reading Skip Beat, it must’ve been around 2005, so it’s been a long time. In these 12 years, I’ve read and finished so many manga while this is is one of the few that I’m actually still reading from this period of time. Skip Beat has easily always been the manga I’ve complained about the most about it’s speed of development story- and character-wise. The fun part is, I’ve also always been reading Detective Conan and there’s nothing happaning at all, very few instances when we had a bit of actual story, but it’s not much.

The difference is, Conan is designed very periodic, so we usually have a couple of chapters revolving around a case. The case is finished and we move onto the next one, so every few chapters we have some kind of resolve and we accomplish something. It’s a weekly manga, so it’s usually between a months or two before we finish one mini-arc.

Skip Beat drags on a lot more. First and foremost, it’s monthly and it’s not just monthly, it also has a very small page count for a monthly manga. You know, I’m used to the Fullmetal Alchemist type of monthly manga around 40 pages per chapter, sometimes even close to 50. Skip Beat has about 25-30 ish pages per chapter and as you can see: huge difference. Okay, this can be thanks to different art style, working conditions, health issues with the manga-ka, whatever, you know, there are many reasons why we skip_beat_78_25have less pages per chapter and if 25-30 works good for Nakamura, then that’s fine.

Unfortunately, Skip Beat has not exactly been the most regulary released manga on the planet, skipping a month here and there. Actually, it used to be released bi-weekly, which might be the reason why the page count is that low for a monthly release, and was moved to a monthly release a few years ago if I remember correctly. Which is fine, again. I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about and I don’t have a problem with that.

Now take all what I’ve said so far about page count and not-as-regular-releases-as-we-would-like and add a painstakingly slow narrative to it – THIS is where it starts getting annoying. I swear to god, Akagami no Shirayukihime managed at least twice as much substance in 85 chapters than Skip Beat managed in 248 chapters. I constantly feel like we’re walking on the same spot without getting anywhere, as if we’re stiped to a conveyer belt or something.

We did make some progress over the time, no question. Kyoko went from hating love after being mistreated by Sho, to admitting to herself that she’s in love with Ren. She also developed into a capable actess, even though she’s still officlally an idol and head chef of the Love Me section, but I actually think she was surprisingly good right from the start. I skip_beat_241_4mean, she was never “bad” at acting, she had the talent all the time and impressed people all over the place even with her early works.

Thanks to the amazingly slow narrative, the mini-arcs in Skip Beat take years to finish, which can drag on a lot. For example: Kyoko was talking with Moko-san about the role of Momiji, that she’s currently auditioning for, 14 chapters ago – that’s 14 months, if a chapter was released every month during that time. I think the whole thing actually started even further back, but that’s already over a year and she still didn’t get the part just yet. It looks like she will get it very soon and Ren has come back from Guam earlier only to see a picture of Sho and Kyoko kissing, which is not that good, I guess…? I mean,  Ren is 21 years old currently and Kyoko is 17, which officially makes then illegal. Sho and Kyoko are of the same age, so at least Sho is not breaking the law.

Akagami no Shirayukihime has been dragging on a lot lately as well, because Shirayuki and Zen have been separated for a while now and I’m dying to see them together again. At least they’re an official pair, that’s much more than Skip Beat can claim to have. I’m also dying to know what Ren will give Kyoko as a White Day’s gift. He sent everyone a gift, except Kyoko and Yashiro mentioned months ago that he knows what Ren got for her, so I think it’s certain to say he got her something special and wants to give it to her skip_beat_219_8in person. That was, before he saw that picture of Kyoko and Sho kissing, which might delay thing a tiny bit… and by that I mean probably another half a year.

Yeah, that’s one way to keep your manga running, but apparently there’s still enough people interested, or Skip Beat would’ve suffered the same fate Bleach had and would’ve been axed. At least we still have a chance to see a proper end to this.

Sing (movie 2016)

I missed quite a lot of movies in theatres lately and now that they’re slowly being released on Blu-Ray/DVD, I’m finally catching up. My latest additions are “Moana” and “Sing”.

sing011I had fun. It’s just very unfortunate for Sing that I watched Moana first. Do’t get me wrong, it’s a nice movie, it’s fun, has some pretty unique and enjoyable characters, but it’s not a “must see”. While Moana is not Disney’s greatest movie ever, it’s at least one of their better recent ones, that’s for sure. It’s not flawless and while the budget clearly shows (like, seriously, that’s got to be arguably the most beautiful animated movie I’ve ever seen), it has some shortcommings. This is criticism on a very high level, though. Still… I support Zootopia for winning the best animated movie Oscar, it really was the best animated movie of 2016.

Either way, back to sing: The plot is pretty thin. This wouldn’t really be much of a problem, if the characters were strong… which they aren’t. And here’s the problem I have with the movie: the characters don’t interact. You have this cast of awesome and interesting personalities and they’re just there for the sake of being there. All of them come with their own sets of problems, which all of them more or less solve by the end. They solve these problems by themselves, because they sing.

The singers in the show barely talk to each other outside of their respective groups. Even Buster Moon doesn’t really talk to them that much, he basically chooses them, chooses their songs and dresses, puts them into rehearsal rooms to practice and that’s it. The first and last time you see them interact is when they’re building the “outdoor theatre” together. Buster and Meena are the clostest, because Buster lets her work behind the scenes instead of sing, so he has to pay attention to her and teach her how stuff works.

I personally feel the main problem is, the movie tried to do too much at the same time. I personally cared the most about Johnny and his storyline, but that would’ve easily been enough to fill the entire movie and then there’s all the other characters, too. Frankly speaking, there’s simply not enough time to give each character the time they deserve for growth and developments to solve theie own problems in a satisfying way. Instead, I guess they focussed on Butster Moon and indended to have this story revolve around him, but his story is the least interesting. I mean, yeah, he loves his theatre and he doesn’t want to loose it, because of his dad, but when it comes to it it’s a money problem first and foremost. The other characters have emotional hurdles to take. Well, except Mike, Mike is an asshole and only cares about money and reputation.

Meena is very shy and needs to overcome her natural timid nature in order to follow her dream of being a musician. Ash needs to free herself of her boyfriend, who’s stopping and constricting her own artistic talent, but she catched him cheating on her and has to deal with a broken heart. Johnny… well, poor boy has a criminal as a father, who wants him to join the gang and doesn’t acknowledge Johnny’s interest in music. Rosita is the burned out mom of too many kids and not enough support from her husband who needs her personal life to kick off in order to be happy again.

All of this ^ sounds more interesting than the Koala with money problems. Here’s two l3vQZEUEKUvbvsFsAdifferent approaches: a) reduce the backstory of the singers, because their backstories don’t matter that much anyway, to properly build Buster Moon into a likable character with an actual emotionally connectable problem and that would most likely include giving more backstory to Buster and his father. Take your time to build emotions and don’t just throw stuff at out faces and expect us to care. Does anyone really cares about Buster? I don’t even think so, in the movie itself it was said all of Busters shows were flops, so it’s HIS fault he’s in this situation anyway and he expects these singers to get him out of it. Besides, he’s committing crime along the way, stealing electricity and water and illegally employ these squids.

b) reduce the backstory of everyone expect one of the singers and explore him or her properly and include the other caracters present into his or her healing process.

This movie tried to do everything at the same time and that’s just too much. It’s still fun, the music is great, but I never connected with the characters as much as I expected I would. Unfortunately, Meena seems to be the one from the artists who’s the “main” and for me she was the least interesting one, because she had the most trivial problem. Yes, being timid is not a piece of cake and getting over your fears is very hard and challenging and I’m not trying tot alk that down, but she had such a picture perfect life besides that. It’s like… girl, you have a way better life than any of your competitiors, why should I root for you over them? You will get your next chance, your family will catch you if you fall and help you come back. Rosita doesn’t have anyone like that, she will just fall deeper into depression. Johnny might end up in freaking prison as a criminal. Meena is basically the princess of the group.

It doesn’t really help much her song in the show was my least favorite. It’s not the song itself, Stevie Woner’s original version is awesome, I just don’t like Meena’s cover and I was glad when it was over. The other characters did a much better job covering/presenting their songs, in my opinion. I mean, have you listend to the orinal version of “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing”? It’s Latin-ish with lot’s of piano inviting you to dance Chachacha (if I’m not entirely mistaken, you can dance a Chacha to this), it’s a feel good song. Meena’s version doesn’t do it any justice. I loved her sining Halleluja so much more, why couldn’t she have sung something like that? Or … at least some kind of ballad, instead of latin? I don’t think it was the right song for her.

sourceBy the way, I loved Gunther. He was so cool. He was flat as a board in terms of characterization, but he was the comic relief and he was doing a great job being just that. They tried to give all these characters background and problems and failed to explore them properly and it’s the one character with no background whatsoever and barely and charcter to him, that I love the most. The things he was supposed to do, he was doing  extreamly well and that was: being funny and helping Rosita to loosen up. That’s all, but he did his job and he did it good.

Enough rambling. It was okay. Visuals were good, not quite as amazing as Moana, but good. Thin plot, interesting characters that don’t interact and (for the most part) pretty good music. It’s mild entertainment, but not a must-see.

A few thoughts

Okay, first of all: Where’s Yuri on Ice season 2? WHERE IS IT? I need my gaylicious babies.

tenorApparently, everything was planned from the start and nothing was changed in favor for a possible second season. I’m not entirely sold on that, but whatever. From what I heared a second season will be made, if the DVD/BluRay sales are good. Judging by the huge waves the TV broadcast made, I’m hoping sales will be good enough. Since Yuri now lives and trains with Victor in Russia, this is the perfect opportunity to get more background on Victor, who’s still more of a walking mystery than anything. Also: more Victor skating, please? God, this man is just too delicious for his own good.

 

Akagami no Shirayukihime. I mean, I love this manga. Contrary to what I initially believed, I absolutely love it. It’s one of the sweetest romance stories I’ve read in a while and quickly advanced to become one of my favorite romance manga. If Yuri and Victor are a pair of sexy gay deliciousness, Shirayuki and Zen are a cute bubble of innocence. I love seeing them together, even though I think it’s quite ironic Shirayuki flees from her home country to escape from a prince who wants to marry her and ends up in another country in tumblr_nuom06w3vx1qfjlbzo2_500the arms of another prince who wants to marry her.

Either way, the latest chapters are great and all, but I really miss my cutsey dose of Shirayuki/Zen love. I get it: Zen is trying his best to be able to stay with Shirayuki permanently together in the castle where his mother is currently “ruling”, taking over her place. This needs time and preparation. Yeah, but… I remember getting impatient when we haven’t seen Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist for half a year after he was massively injured and the story focussed on something else, before he gloriously reappeared (seriously, that was freaking amazing, but that’s FMA for you), but if I’m not mistaken we’re getting close to 1 & 1/2 years since Shirayuki was sent on her mission away from Zen. They met somewhere in between and currently the focus is more on the aids and as much as I adore Mitsuhide and Kiki and their own little love story, but I really really really miss Shirayuki and Zen being lovely dovely.

 

Shokugeki no Soma took a very sudden turn in events and now it looks like it’ll be over relatively soon. Judging by the popularity of the manga, I’m a bit surprised by that and I’m not liking the decision of this new Shokugeki. I mean, that’s just bending the rules to have some plot convenience. I know that happens a lot in shounen, especially in long running a2bac6b4ce94598a5870839c7355ca76sounen, but it still kind of bothers me. It’s like saying: by the way, the ultimate weapon against all of our problems have been there the entire time, if someone would’ve just been nice enough to bring it up, which strangely never happend. Yeah. Stange, isn’t it?

Saibas backstory was pretty cool, though. Why do I seem to like the backstories of father figures in shounen so much? Isshin had a damn awesome backstory in Bleach as well. On the other hand: Isshin as well as Saiba are some pretty cool dads. I don’t think Saiba has been a very good father, though. He’s cool, but not a good father. He loves Soma, sure, and it’s not like he did everything wrong, but some of his decisions regarding Somas upbringing are very questionable.

 

Ballroom e Youkoso is back to a regular release and it’s as great as always. I don’t even know what else to say. It’s back, that’s awesome! And the two chapters released since it’s comeback have been awesome. Not much dancing, but more character and the right dose cdmkwwcuuaejszeof humor sprinkled in here and there. I love Akiras and Chii-chans relationship, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of it, even after this competition is over. Furthermore we got a glance at the possibility how easy it is to loose for Chii-chan and Tatara. Rememeber: they promised to break up, if they don’t win and winning will be a miracle, if they don’t get it together soon. Thank you Hyoudou for ripping Tataras shoulder apart, so instead of being too stiff he’s too loose now. … great…

Best of 2016

Now that 2017 has arrived and is still in it’s baby shoes, I’d like to make quick list about my best manga, anime, game and movie of 2016. Last year I made this huge individual lists, but I’m not feeling well, so I’m going to keep it shorter. The same rules apply as last year:  on going franchises are allowed & also titles I’ve seen/read/played 2016 but premiered ealier are allowed as well.

Best Game of 2016

As for best game, unfortunately there was no Zelda this year, so no Zelda for best game either. Spoiler alert: Zelda will be best game of 2017. I’m actually very tempted to go with Super Metroid, even though it’s very old, but it’s so damn good. Even after so many years, it’s still such an amazing game and I haven’t played it on SNES back in the days, I played it first on the Wii U. However, if a 22 years old game is better than recent games, that would be sad, even if Super Metroid is one of the best games ever made.

So, what else to choose? I played Yokai Watch, which was nice. Bravely Second was very good as well and I also liked Legend of Legacy and Pokken. Unfortunately there’s no game like Xenoblade Chronicles X that stood out among the rest as much as XCX did (I still love this game, it’s fucking amazing), but I was positively surprised by Kirby Planet Robobot. I already liked Triple Deluxe, but Planet Robobot was even better. Kirby is doing good lately!

sun-moon-box-artEventually, I guess I have to go with Pokemon Sun/Moon for my game of the year 2016. When I first started the game I couldn’t help but wonder just how far the franchise has come in the past 20 years and I’ve been a part of it the entire time. They dared to change up the formula and it payed off. Even though Gen VII doesn’t have the best Pokemon designs (in my opinion), they’re fine and I love the concept of regional forms of old pokemon.

Best Movie of 2016

This is a hard one. I think I watched a lot of great movies in 2016. I loved Creed, The Hateful Eight, Rogue One, The Martian, Zootopia, The Danish Girl, Deadpool…. the list goes on. However, when it comes down to it, I guess two movies stood out and even though the winner is very clear, I’d love to point out the runner up, because it surprised me that much. The runner up is Southpaw and it surprised me, because I thought it’s just a Rocky-clone, but it’s not. I didn’t like all the decisions made in the story, but it’s more about a broken man who tries to fix his relationship with his daughter after his wife’s death and tries very hard to get her back, than it’s about boxing. He just happens to be a boxer. Yes, there’s a training montage and yes, it’s awesome. Also, kudos to Jake Gyllenhaal, I think he did a great job.

Now, for my movie of the year, it’s easily Whiplash. Why didn’t I see this movie earlier? whiplashIt’s so intense, it caught me completely off guard. I heard it was good, but damn it was downright amazing. It climbed right into the league of best movies I ever watched. It’s clever, dramatic, cruel, intense, strong characters and an awesome soundtrack. If you haven’t watched it: go watch it.

Best Anime of 2016

For me, 2016 was a good year for anime. Lot’s of shows I enjoyed: Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2, Haiyku Season 2+3, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Soma Season 2, Battery, Bungou Stray Dogs, Noragami, 3 gatsu no Lion, Fune wo Amu, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari.

I don’t think it comes as a surprise when I say, my personal anime of 2016 was, easily, Yuri!! On Ice. I just jumped into the fandom and was going along with the hype. It was gaylicious, it was fun, it was one hell of a ride and I don’t think I’ve been that much into an anime ever since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This doesn’t mean, it’s as good as FMA:B, I don’t like some of the decisions in episode 11 and 12, but it’s just breathtaking yuri-on-ice-02-6how episode 10 suddenly made the entire anime look in an entirely different way. Awesome plot twist right there. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, Yuri!! On Ice really did make history: it boldly portrayed a homosexual relationship in a world without discrimination as something entirely normal and it was done so incredibly well. I’ve hardly ever seen heterosexual relationships done that good and Yuri!! On Ice simply takes it to an entirely different level. We need more romance like that, we need more couples like Victor and Yuri and we need more media open enough towards homosexuality to treat it completely normal. It should not be that big of a deal to have a same sex couple treated like that. I hope, someday, our world can be as understanding and open towards homosexual relationships and other kinds of sexuality as the world in YOI is.

Best Manga of 2016

This is easily the hardest choice. First of all, I completely forgot what I read this year. I mean, besides the usual suspects. Some manga I’d like to point out are Vinland Saga, Skip Beat, Our Relationship is…, Piano no Mori, Until Death Do Us Part, Chihayafuru, Arte, Shounen Oujo, Do Da Dancin’, Kounodori, Nijiiro Days, Vagabond and Shinobi Quartet. Once again, I’d like to point out two manga more. The first one is 10 Dance. I’m a sucker for sportsmanga and ballroom dancing is so amazing. Maybe it’s because I learned it before and actually do know how to dance (not competitively, but at least I don’t make a fool out of myself at weddings), but I love manga about ballroom dancing and the two I enjoy the most are 10 Dance and Ballroom e Youkoso (after more than a year on hiatus, it’ll finally be back in just a few days and we’ll also get an anime, awesomesauce).

The story of 10 dance is rather simple, but I can’t help but love seeing the two Shinyas dacing together. It looks so good, the dancing itself is just awesome and it doesn’t hurt they boys are damn sexy and their personalities are so different it’s fun seeing them working their shit out together. I’m super thrilled the manga is published ihn my country 181140lnow, too.

As for manga of 2016 I’m going with a manga I’ve just recently discovered, but I absolutely fell in love with it and hope it’ll continue doing well. After just 8 chapters there’s not that much story yet and I’m guessing it’ll stay on the lighter side, but it’s a cute romance and I really need that right now: Otonari Complex. It’s cute, it’s light, it’s well done. Nothing of the huge big title like Whiplash in my movie section, but a manga that made an impression and I think it could become something like Lovely Complex, but that’s yet to see.