Inked Editorial: Is The Punisher Ballsier Than Batman?

Ink gives you his perspective of Batman’s “No Killing” rule.

Editor’s Note: I apologize for the poor Green Screen Quality.  There were technical difficulties involved and the current state is better than it would have been, had I uploaded the original render of this video.
This video does not count as the return from hiatus.  Editorials are not canon.

Fyreharticles: Ranking Tarantino (Least Favourite Film To Favourite Film)

I’ve toyed with this idea before in my head, and I’ve decided to go ahead with it. Without wasting too much of your time, I’ll dive right into this one…..after a bit of clarification anyway.

I’d like to point out that, aside from this obviously being my own personal opinion, this is only counting movies Tarantino directed; not simply wrote. As such, you won’t see True Romance (a movie I still haven’t seen regardless) or any other movies like that on this list. You also won’t see Four Rooms (another one I haven’t seen yet), as he technically only directed a section of the movie, rather than the entire thing. So, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the list.

No. 7 (aka “Least Favourite”) – Death Proof

Fairly easy pick for “least favourite” to be honest. This movie is pretty forgettable in my opinion. I know this is technically one half of a double feature, but I don’t think watching Planet Terror would improve this much. Mind you, I don’t hate the movie at all, just the ending is lame. This is one of the few movies I’ve ever seen where I thought the ending must’ve been a fake out, as I was still waiting to find out what happened to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character. Like, what the hell Tarantino? The last time we see her, her friends have basically handed her over to a horny redneck who probably raped the living hell out of her off screen for all we know. And her friends don’t seem to give a shit either. I honestly kind of lost all sympathy for these characters when I realised that. Hell, the ending itself is very anti-climactic. It generally seems like it should go on a bit longer, but it just ends abruptly and left me thinking “……that’s it? Really?”

The acting wasn’t terrible by any means, but again, this movie is probably the only Tarantino movie I would advise you to skip if you haven’t already seen it. Not to say you shouldn’t if you’re curious. If you are, go ahead, you may like it more than I do; that’s how opinions work. But for me, this is easily my least favourite Tarantino movie, and the only easy one to really place. Well, aside from…

No. 6 – Inglorious Basterds

Now, I have no issues with this movie. In fact, the only Tarantino movie I have issues with is Death Proof; hence why it got the bottom spot. But compared to the other movies on this list, this ranks very low for one specific reason. “Rewatchability”. To me, out of the six of these that I do like, Inglorious Basterds is the one I re-watch the least amount comparatively. It’s not a bad movie, but for some reason I only really re-watch it when I’m not in the mood to watch the other five above this (Granted I don’t own Django on DVD, so I’ve only seen it about twice or so).

The performances are all solid, especially Brad Pitt, who is the funniest (and ugliest) I think I’ve ever seen him in anything. Like, wow, here’s a guy I never thought I’d see in a Tarantino movie, and it ends up working out really well. The standout performance is easily (in my opinion) Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa. Christoph seems to disappear into the character so well that I find it to be a shame I didn’t know he existed before this movie. Easily one of the best actors Tarantino’s ever worked with, which would explain why he brought him back for Django Unchained.

I honestly don’t have anything else to say about this movie, but I guess I’ll clarify again that I don’t think this movie is necessarily bad in any way, just not as good as the movies I’ve ranked higher than it on this list.

No. 5 – Reservoir Dogs

Something tells me I’m going to get negative feedback for this not cracking the top three, but that’s why personal opinion exists. I do think this is a solid movie, as is every other movie on this list (aside from Death Proof anyway), but as good as this movie is, nothing much really happens. And no, I’m not bagging the “heist movie without the heist” gist of the movie; in fact I think that’s what helps make this movie stand out so much. I guess for all the great Tarantino dialogue, the simplicity of the plot ended up hurting it a bit as far as placement in this list. And I know, simplicity is a silly thing to go by when you’re talking Tarantino plots, but still.

Again, I love this movie, but like with Inglorious Basterds I just don’t seem to want to watch it over and over again, which ended up hurting it enough to land it in fifth place. But if that isn’t enough for you to hate me yet? Oh boy, are you going to hate me when we get to number four.

No. 4 – Pulp Fiction

Told you so. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!”.


Kakashi (aka the guy being crucified): Me
The many Itatchi pictured (Everyone else): You

But please, allow me to beg your indulgence for a moment (finally, an excuse to say that). First off, yes, Pulp Fiction is a great movie, but this isn’t a list of which is the best, it is about which one I happen to like more than the others. And I can tell you right now, even if this had ended up higher, it would NOT have been number one. As good, hell, as fucking GREAT as Pulp Fiction is, I once again surprisingly don’t watch this as often as I watch the number one spot. In fact I’m rarely in the mood for Pulp Fiction, which is odd. I mean, aside from the rape stuff it’s a very enjoyable movie, so why don’t I watch it more often? God knows I currently have enough free time to watch it several times a day.

Part of it may be I purposely don’t want to overwatch it, as it may ruin the charm of the movie somehow, which could be right. There have been plenty of movies that I watched once a day when I was younger (Spaceballs being the main one), and after a while I just wouldn’t watch the movie for ages before finally watching it again. That said, as fun as the movie is, I don’t consider it to be Tarantino’s best story. And to be honest, that’s another way I ranked this; which movies’ plots interest me the most. Which leads us to number three.

No. 3 – Django Unchained

As of writing this article, this is the last movie Tarantino has released to date, and I knew practically nothing about it going in, which I think helped. It was great to see Christoph Waltz again, and basically playing the polar opposite of his character from Inglorious Basterds. If I had to pick, I’d say I prefer Christoph’s performance in this to Inglorious Basterds. I mean, sure, he’s the best thing about that movie, but in this his performance seems more real as he does appear to be a genuinely nice guy. Oh, I’ve only been talking about Christoph haven’t I? My bad, I’ll try to talk about something else.

Aside from a solid cast this movie also has one of the few romance plots I actually care about. Most usually seem tacked on, and even when they are the main focus I usually don’t like those kinds of movies. Django Unchained, however, manages to pull off the “never ending quest to save his wife” gimmick quite well. Not surprisingly, putting this story in a time period of the USA where slavery was still legal actually helps ramp up the tension; especially near the end where the ruse is figured out by Samuel L. Jackson’s character. I must admit that when I first saw this movie and it gets to the part where they’re about to castrate Django, I was on the edge of my seat. This is a Tarantino movie. That could’ve actually happened. Thank God it didn’t though, that would’ve been hard to sit through (like the rape scene in Pulp Fiction).

As far as the stand out performance goes, I’d have to go with Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin J. Candie. Anyone who can be so in-the-zone when acting that accidentally cutting up their hand doesn’t faze them, and it actually helps to make their performance even more menacing, is a great actor in my book. Goes without saying though that there wasn’t a single terrible performance in this movie. Great acting, an interesting story and a scenario you’d think Tarantino would’ve exploited long before he finally did is what mad Django Unchained move into the number three spot.

No. 2 – Jackie Brown

Huh, the “other” Tarantino Blaxploitation homage movie is also in the top three. Odd. Anyway, I honestly don’t care if you disagree with me or not, I think Jackie Brown is one of the most solid stories Tarantino has ever told on film. I’m not saying all the other movies are necessarily bad plot/story wise, but the more I think about it the more I start to realise just how underappreciated this movie must be. Before Christmas back in 2012 I had never heard of Jackie Brown. I’d at least heard of Death Proof, but I’d never EVER heard anyone talk about Jackie Brown. And after seeing it several times I only have one question. Why?

Why in the hell had I never previously heard about this movie? This is a GREAT movie, and probably the most underrated of Tarantino’s movies. That being said, me considering this to be underrated is NOT what allowed it to place so high. And no, I didn’t place it this high as a joke or to piss people off (This is my opinion remember). This placed so high because I was actually invested in what was going on. Most of the other Tarantino movies are fun, and you go along for the ride, but I’ve noticed I’m never invested in what’s going on. When Vincent dies in Pulp Fiction I really don’t care. Aside from the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs (which is still hard to watch) I don’t have any sort of emotional reaction to anything.

Jackie Brown however? I’ve found I really did become emotionally invested in what was going on the first time I watched it, and to this day it still bugs me that Max Cherry and Jackie don’t end up together. But in an odd way I do actually like that ending. It’s not entirely happy, but it’s not depressing either. It actually seems like a very realistic ending. They essentially admit they have a thing for each other, but Max doesn’t get the chance to run away with Jackie because she leaves before he makes up his mind. I like to think he went after her anyway or they met up again when she gets back from Spain, but still, as far as the movie goes they don’t end up together.

Aside from nit-picky stuff I won’t bother to mention (well, aside from the “they don’t end up together” thing) this movie is pretty much perfect. A great cast coupled with arguably the second best story Quentin Tarantino has ever produced. It almost makes me want to see Tarantino make more adaptations.

No. 1 – Kill Bill (Vol. I & II)

No matter where everything else was placed, Kill Bill was easily going to be in the top spot. It never occurred to me to separate both volumes on this list by the way. Had I done so, this list wouldn’t have changed much. “Kill Bill Vol. I” would’ve been in the number two spot, and “Kill Bill Vol. II” would’ve been in the number one spot (thereby pushing everything else down a spot), and that’s it. Kill Bill gets the number one spot for several reasons. For one thing, Kill Bill is legitimately my favourite thing Quentin Tarantino has ever done. Secondly, I didn’t just become emotionally invested in these movies, I became completely immersed in the story’s universe. I’ve watched these movies more times than any of the other Tarantino films combined.

I’m never not in the mood to watch these movies, and I always feel that once I watch Vol. I, I have to watch Vol. II, whether that’s immediately after the movie ends or the next day. Kill Bill Vol. II HAS to be the next movie I watch. If that’s not enough, Kill Bill has actually influenced me to want to write my own revenge story. There are other influences, but Kill Bill is easily the main one. If it ever saw the light of day I would never deny that Kill Bill was an influence because I’d be lying through my teeth.

On top of everything the cast is perfect. No, not just great, the cast of Kill Bill is perfect in my eyes. The best example of this is how Michael Parks plays two completely different characters in both movies, and I never noticed until watching a “Making Of” extra on the Kill Bill Vol. II DVD. In film one, Michaels Parks played the Texas Ranger Earl McGraw. In film two he played Esteban Vihaio, the retired Mexican pimp. It’s still hard to believe that that’s true, as I honestly couldn’t tell Esteban was being played by a white guy in heavy makeup. I really did believe the actor legitimately had some sort of Latino heritage. I’ll stop now so I don’t go on for days, but long story short I absolutely LOVE every single thing about the Kill Bill movies, and that’s why they get the number one spot.

So, what do you guys think? Would your list be similar to mine? Exactly the same? Completely different? Please let me know in the comments, as I am genuinely intrigued as to how other people would rank the Tarantino movies.

Video Games That Ruled – The Stanley Parable and Gone Home

So…I’ve been trying to write this article for a while, and have had some trouble doing so. How do you tell people about a game without telling them much of anything about it? This is the problem with both The Stanley Parable and Gone Home, two story-driven first person exploration games that I’ve recently played and loved. The short answer is to just tell you to play these games without going to YouTube, as it WILL cheapen the experience…but really, who’s going to do that? Games cost money, and most people aren’t going to spend $15-20 on something they know nothing about.

Let’s start with The Stanley Parable. You control Stanley, an office worker who pushes buttons in his office until one day, he doesn’t receive any orders to do so. This makes him wonder what’s wrong, and starts exploring his office building. You can play a demo that’s not a part of the actual game. The developer, Galactic Cafe, knew that they’d need to entice people into playing their game without spoiling it.

One thing that the demo doesn’t really show off (although they do hint at it a fair bit) is the concept of choice. If I had to make any sort of comparison, I’d say that The Stanley Parable is like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. There is a narrator who provides humorous commentary, but also gives direction. The first choice you’re given is a set of doors. The narrator says “when Stanley approached two doors, he took the one on his left”. If you take the door on the right, the entire story has the potential to end differently. Every choice you make vastly impacts the story, or at least irritates the narrator, which is fun in and of itself.

PROTIP: Go into the broom closet and shut the door. Trust me.

Controlling the game couldn’t be much easier. There’s no jumping, weapons, or puzzles. You can left click your mouse to press a button or pull a lever. Right clicking allows you to crouch, although you need to use the crouch approximately 0 times to make it through the game. If you’re looking for action, you should probably look somewhere else. If you’re looking for a dozen interesting 10-15 minute stories that all start the same way, look no further than The Stanley Parable, my favorite game of 2013.

If The Stanley Parable is akin to a Choose Your Own Adventure book, Gone Home would be a short story. You arrive at your house on June 6, 1995, and no one is home. This game is even tougher to explain than The Stanley Parable without spoiling anything, as it’s up to you to piece the entire story together, including your name. You walk through each room of the house, examining objects you find everywhere. These can be anything, like a receipt, a note from (or to) a family member, books, cans of soda, posters of both real and fictional bands, cassette tapes and cases, or Super Nintendo cartridges, among other things. Certain items will trigger narrative pieces.

PROTIP: Although you can play the cassette tapes, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re into C-tier Grrrl Rock.

I was 13 in 1995, and Gone Home honestly made me miss the 90s while I was playing it. Everything feels right, and if you grew up in the 90s you owe it to yourself to play this game just for the nostalgia trip. Once again, there is no action or puzzles, you simply explore the house at your own pace (it’ll probably take you 2-3 hours if you go at a leisurely pace). I found this was a great game to play through with a friend, as we took time to talk about the things that we found and made inferences based on what we had learned each time.

If you’re looking for a slightly different experience than you’re used to, both The Stanley Parable and Gone Home are great games. As noted above, neither game is very long, but that didn’t negatively impact my view on either game (I mean, not many of the Super Mario games are really very long, and I’ve played through all of them countless times). They’re an innovative blend of gameplay and narrative, offering an experience that has yet to be attained by cutscenes, Quicktime events, or Sega CD’s FMV “games”. Download The Stanley Parable demo at stanleyparable.com– if you like it, you’ll love the full game. And if you liked The Stanley Parable, there’s a good chance you’ll like Gone Home.

DISCLAIMER: I can’t honestly say “if you liked The Stanley Parable you’ll love Gone Home” (or vice versa). The Stanley Parable is a really funny game that can (and often does) get pretty dark with its humor. Gone Home is a pretty dark and ominous game that has funny moments, but the draw is the story that keeps you confused and captivated the whole time.

Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 4

Click here for part 1!
Click here for part 2!
Click here for part 3!

We’re now fully immersed into 1991, the same year the Super Nintendo was released. Do any of these games come close to the greatness that is Super Mario World? Short answer: no.

Fatal Labyrinth (1991, Collection 2)
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Fatal Labyrinth is an RPG, specifically a top down dungeon crawler. This is a similar style to Diablo, which would be released 5 years later and is a much better game. You run around in a maze, battling monsters and collecting weapons and armor. This game is fairly tough, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you may end up dying very quickly. No, scratch that. Even if you know what you’re doing, it’s still incredibly easy to die. The biggest problem is how often your attacks miss your enemies. A room with 3 or 4 enemies can easily give you a game over, even when you know you’re powered up enough to defeat them. You regain health by walking, but everything is turn-based. If you take a step, so does your enemy. If you’re lucky you can run away and heal yourself, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll have an encounter with a few snails, start screaming “hit him!” because 6 attacks in a row missed, and end up having to start all over again.

Galaxy Force II (1991, Collection 2)
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Galaxy Force II is a third person space shooter. When this game started, I thought “Hey, this looks kind of neat, like what Star Fox might be like in 1991”. Then I began playing, and thought “Wait a second, this is just Super Thunder Blade in space”. And it’s just as bad. Possibly worse. You constantly fire a machine gun that doesn’t hit anything, but at least you still have the heat seeking missiles like Super Thunder Blade. Two years later, and this type of game still feels like a tech demo. Just stay away from this one, it’s not worth your time.

Alien Storm (1991, Collection 3)
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Now here’s an interesting take on the beat-em-up genre. Alien Storm throws away traditional techniques like punching, kicking, and jumping (really, like you’re going to take out a hideous monster with a jump kick?) and gives you a Ghostbusters-style proton blasters. Instead of having a ghost trap, you light them on fire with a bazooka, and if they’re strong enough you’ll pull a pistol out and shoot them in the head a few times before igniting their bodies. Each level is broken up into two segments: the beat-em-up part, and a second portion which is normally a first person shooter style. In level 3, the second part turns into a horizontal shooter. If you’re looking for a beat-em-up with some grotesque enemies and unique twists, check out Alien Storm.

Decap Attack (1991, Collection 3)
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Decap Attack is a platformer that, along with Titus the Fox, is (in)famous for being a pseudo-sequel to Kid Kool on the NES. The big difference between Kid Kool and this game is that Decap Attack is actually playable. The main character Chuck D. Head has an interesting jump, where you can keep tapping the button to make him float to the ground. However, the real draw for this game is collecting a head for Chuck, which he can then use as a weapon to throw at enemies. This is a decent game with bright colors and decent music, but after I defeated the first level boss I was told that I hadn’t found “the most important item” and that I should search every nook and cranny in the level. Not actually knowing what the item I was supposed to find was, I went back through the level, ultimately leading to my death. This might be a fun game if you know what you’re doing, but I can’t say I enjoyed it enough to want to play it again, searching through the first level with a fine-toothed comb to find an undescribed item.

Flicky (1991, Collection 3)
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Flicky makes 1991 feel a lot like 1983. Flicky is a very simple platformer in the Mappy style, where you run along a series of platforms trying to avoid enemies. In this case, Flicky is a blue bird who is trying to rescue smaller birds from cats. The goal is to get them all to the exit, and you get a bigger score bonus if you rescue more of the smaller birds at once. You can knock the cats out temporarily by throwing the objects that are scattered throughout the level. Cats will kill you if they touch you, but they’ll simply break the chain if they touch one of the smaller birds you’ve collected, forcing you to retrieve the birds you’ve just lost. This isn’t a bad game, but it’s very simple by 1991 standards.

Well, it looks like we’ve regressed a bit. This has been the worst group of games I’ve gone through since the first group, although thankfully these games didn’t sink to those depths. As always, I’m going to put these on the awesome-to-awful scale to see how everything stacks up. New games to the lists are in bold text. And since things are getting a little confusing to keep track of, here’s a handy key to the collections.

Collection 1
Collection 2
Collection 3
Collection 4
Collection 5
Sonic Hits Collection

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
——–
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
—–
Golden Axe
Crack Down
Bonanza Bros.
Alien Storm
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
——–
Gain Ground
Fatal Labyrinth
Decap Attack
Phantasy Star II
The Revenge of Shinobi

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
——-
Altered Beast
Columns
Flicky
Sword of Vermilion

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
——
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Galaxy Force II
Super Thunder Blade

Okay, things aren’t looking so great after the first 20 games, but next time tip the scales slightly more in favor of awesome with my favorite Genesis game, as well as a few other really good ones. I’ll continue further into 1991 with Golden Axe II, Shining in the Darkness, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star III, and Wonder Boy in Monster World.
Click here for part 5!

Fyreharticles – My (Current) Top Ten Favourite Anime Opening Themes

Ah yes, anime. From my humble beginnings watching Sailor Moon & Pokémon as a kid, to watching the likes of Hellsing, Trigun & Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki as I got older, it seems like I’ve always had some sort of interest in anime, even before I knew what I was watching was called anime. That said, I may not have the most extensive list when it comes to anime I’ve seen, but regardless I think I’ve seen enough to warrant a list like this. Plus, I wisely threw “current” in the title for a reason, as this list could easily change when I start to watch some anime I haven’t previously seen.

Before I start, two things. First is that, as the name of this implies, this is just purely my opinion on what I liked the most at the moment. This isn’t one of those “these are the best anime opening themes ever” lists, as I think lists like that are bullshit (Specifically when they non-sarcastically try to make their opinion come across as fact ). Second, I was originally going to limit myself to one theme per show, but I ended up with two from the same franchise anyway, so I decided to drop that. Not that it would matter, I could make a list ranking Naruto themes alone there are so many, but I doubt most of them would make the cut anyway.

Well, I think I’ve bored you all enough, now time to actually get to the list! Which, by the way, is in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. Hence the lack of numbers.

A World For Us All (Digimon Frontier English Opening Theme)

I may get a bit of hate for liking this, but I don’t care. This is honestly the best English dub Digimon theme I’ve ever heard. Helps that it was the first NOT to use a version of the original Digimon dub theme, but even then it’s still a good intro song in my eyes. The energy is great, the lyrics are catchy and stick in your head, and it legitimately used to get me pumped to watch the show back when it aired. It was rare that an anime theme could do that for me as a kid, to the point I think it may only have been this and Rock The Dragon that ever actually managed to get me pumped up.

Sadly some people will overlook this because they didn’t like the anime, but whether you liked it or not, I say give it a listen. I’ll also add that you should give the show itself a fair go. I mean, kids who turn into Digimon? Sounds like a cool concept to me.

H.T. (Trigun opening theme)

If I was actually ranking these, this would most likely be at the top. I mean, holy crap. This may be one of the best guitar riffs ever, let alone in something used by/made for an anime. It’s honestly hard to describe why I like this so much. Everything about it just works, and it’s easily one of the most badass anime theme songs in existence. In my opinion anyway.

Kimi Wa Majutsushi (Orphen 2nd Opening Theme)

Good lord, Orphen; that brings back memories. Funnily enough I actually forgot Orphen had a second theme at first. Then when watching it back after finding the series on DVD, it suddenly all came back to me when I got to the first episode to use this theme. I honestly used to prefer the first theme (Ai Just On My Love), but over time I’ve been drawn more to the second theme. I’d even argue the tone fits the anime more than Ai Just On My Love, but both work in their own ways.

If you want to hear the full version of the song, here’s the music video for the song the band that performed it (SHARAM Q) did. Bit of a warning though, they keep randomly cutting back to some muscle dude in speedos posing for like no reason. So if that would put off watching something, my suggestion is just listen to the song and not pay attention to the video itself. You aren’t missing much by only listening to the video anyway.

Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi – C (Nichijou 1st opening)

God damn it Nichijou! Why the hell is your first opening theme so damn cute and catchy? Seriously this song alone got me to actually watch the anime….and I had previously NEVER watched an anime before it got dubbed before. That’s how much I liked that song. Well, and this one clip on YouTube where some character continuously says “EEEEEEEEEH?” but still. Only downside to this song I can think of is it doesn’t seem random enough for a show like Nichijou, which seems to be the bastard child of Azumanga Daioh and Pani Poni Dash. For an anime called My Ordinary Life, this is anything but, so you’d think the theme would kind of reflect that. Nope. Unless it does, but the language barrier prevents me from realising it. Which could easily be the case.

One more thing to point out. This song was apparently sung purely by a guy, as in a guy did both the male and female parts of this song. Just a fun fact I found out that I thought I’d share with you.

If you want to hear the full version of the song, please for the love of God drop everything and watch this video. Seriously, just watch it.

Haruka Kanata (Naruto 2nd Opening Theme)

I know this is usually quite a generic pick when it comes to Naruto themes, but Haruka Kanata is honestly my favourite of all the Naruto themes, with GO!!! by FLOW being a close second. I can’t explain it very well, but this theme just basically seems to fit the show the best. But I guess when your show is over 200 episodes long, you’ll want to change up the music every once in a while to keep things interesting.

If you want to hear the full song, I found yet another “people who did the song having done a live-action music video” music videos, so here you go.

Inner Universe (Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex Opening Theme)

I’ve honestly seen barely anything of GITS: SAC, but I can say this much. This may be one of the most unique anime opening themes I’ve ever had the privilege to hear. A Japanese woman singing in three different languages, and none of them are Japanese (English, Russian & Latin were apparently the languages used)? Yeah, that sounds pretty unique to me. I do mean it when I say this has unique feel to it by the way; I’ve honestly never heard another song like it period. It’s actually part of the reason I got so interested in trying to watch the show when it used to air in Australia. I’ve been meaning to buy the anime on DVD actually, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet (partially due to lack of income).

As before, if you want to listen to the full version, here’s a link to it.

The World (Death Note 1st Opening Theme)

I’m going to go on the record and say that, in my opinion, I think this song is a MUCH better fit for Death Note than What’s Up People by Maximum The Hormone. Don’t get me wrong fellow Death Note fans, I like What’s Up People, but it just doesn’t fit the tone the anime has as well as The World does in my eyes. I’d delve deeper into why I think that, but I may hold off on that to be its own article. I will admit this is another case of me liking the song that seems to be the more popular choice, then gradually changing my mind as time goes on and I hear the song more.

Want to hear the full thing? Got you covered with another “the band that did it” music video.

CRUSH GEAR FIGHT! (Crush Gear Turbo Opening Theme)

Oddly enough, the English dub of Crush Gear Turbo (at least as aired in Australia) could never make up it’s mind which version of the song to use. Sometimes they used the inferior English dub version of the song that felt like there was crap all energy behind it most of the time, or they’d use the high energy Japanese version, which I grew to absolutely love, to the point I’d find myself singing along at points recently, mumbling when I couldn’t catch on to whatever they were saying in Japanese, and probably butchering what Japanese I could get right.

I actually may have only properly heard the Japanese version of Crush Gear Fight due to attempting (and failing) to find the English version, giving in and just growing to love the awesomeness that is the original version of the song.

Want to hear the whole thing? I got your back.

Butter-Fly (Digimon Adventure 01 Japanese Opening Theme)

And thus you see why I went against picking one theme per show. I mean, technically since we’re talking about two completely different Digimon seasons/shows I could’ve just gone with the rule and said this was fine, but I decided to just drop the rule so I didn’t have to make the old “ok I cheated” gag. I honestly have only heard this a few times, but majority of those few times I got chills somehow. That alone bumped this up to almost immediately being one of my favourites; hence it’s in this top ten list. I would honestly much prefer to listen to this over the English dub theme for Digimon Adventure 01 (or 02 for that matter, since they don’t really change the English dub theme much for that).

I’m not entirely sure why, but I get a very clear vibe of the Japanese DBZ theme Cha-La Head-Cha-La from this song at certain points, to the point I started switching between the two when I got this song stuck in my head. That’s not a knock on the song though; anything that gets Cha-La Head-Cha-La stuck in my head is good in my book.

Once again, if you want to hear the full version of the song, here it is.

Soramimi Cake (Azumanga Daioh opening theme)

Thank God I specified this is in no particular order. Considering some of the themes on this list, if this was legit the #1 I may get lynched. Anyway, like the Nichijou theme earlier, this is another case of a song being just too damn cute for its own good. If you aren’t convinced, the band who performed this is apparently called Oranges And Lemons……..Oranges And Lemons people, how much cuter do you get? I mean damn, the song is cute enough already without that little factoid.

I’ve honestly always enjoyed the Azumanga Daioh theme since I first heard it, despite how blatantly “Bubble gum Pop” it sounds. But hey, I liked the English dub Cardcaptors theme as a kid, so go figure. Basically, this theme is what it is. An innocent song for a seemingly-innocent-but-not-really anime.

That’s all for now folks, but if you want to hear the full version of Soramimi Cake (and I know you do), then here’s one last link for those who want it.

Video Games That Ruled – Sega Genesis Collections pt 3

Click here for part 1!
Click here for part 2!

I’m back with some more Genesis games. This time we’re going to finish 1990 and begin 1991, a year that these Genesis collections really seem to glorify with 14 games representing Sega’s output in 1991.

ESWAT: City Under Siege (1990, Collection 3)
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ESWAT is an action platformer where you play the part of a cop in the future. This game is pretty cool, with large, expansive levels to traverse your way through. The graphics look good, the level design is well done, the music is fantastic, and you can fire your gun upward to fight enemies (as opposed to the Shinobi games where you can only fire left and right). The bosses are well designed, and feel less cheap than in most of the previous Sega games. ESWAT is definitely a game to check out if you like the Rolling Thunder/Shinobi style.

Sword of Vermilion (1990, Collection 3)
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Sword of Vermilion is an RPG that doesn’t quite seem to know what it wants to be. The town sections are traditional top down style. Walking on the map is done in first person view. Battles are in real time, fought on an isometric plane. Boss battles are in a side view. With the exception of the town section, none of these are done well, and the archaic/unfinished mechanics of the town sections keep even them from being all that interesting. No stats are shown when buying weapons or armor, so buying new weapons either involves guesswork or a trip to GameFAQs. Check this game out if you like old RPGs, but at the same time, don’t really expect much. Or play Phantasy Star II, that’s probably a better option.

Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (1990, Collection 4)
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Sega seems to take a strange approach with some of their games. They’ll make a game, then they’ll develop two sequels for it: one in the arcade and one for home consoles, then they’ll port the arcade game to the console as well so it seems like the third game, but could actually be the second depending on your point of view (see Shinobi). In Wonder Boy’s case, however, it’s the debate over the third and fourth games. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap is a completely different game for the Sega Master System, and in my opinion is a much better game.

Monster Lair is a platform based, forced scrolling shooter that incorporates the game style of the original Wonder Boy with the shooter style of games like Gradius or R-Type, complete with powerups that change your shot. Each level is broken down into two sections: a platform section, and a true shooter section where you ride the back of a big pink monster. This is a pretty fun game that, once again, attempts to take the Wonder Boy series in a wild, new direction from its previous iteration.

Gain Ground (1991, Collection 1)
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Gain Ground is a top down run-and-gun game that gets better the more you play it. The goal is to defeat all the enemies on screen, or reach the area marked “exit”. You start out controlling a character that throws spears, and sets the game off in a somewhat wrong direction. When that character dies you are put in control of a different character, this one having a gun. Gain Ground immediately gets more fun at this point. As you play through the levels, you’ll see icons representing more characters that you can control. Each character has different attacks, like grenades or fireballs. One downside is that the game seems to move a little too slowly, and you’ll blame some of the times when you die on this. If you take the time to get used to this, it’s really a pretty fun game.

Bonanza Bros. (1991, Collection 2)
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Bonanza Bros. is an action platformer, and is Sega’s spiritual sequel to Activision’s “Keystone Kapers” on the Atari 2600. While in that game you took on the role of a police officer trying to stop a bank thief from making his escape on the rooftop of a building, you play the role of the thieves in Bonanza Bros., attempting to collect tresures scattered throughout the building while dodging and shooting police officers. This game is a lot of fun, especially in 2 player as you both team up to ransack the various buildings. Sure, you can try to compete for points, but if you’re going to make it through some of the later stages you’ll have to help each other out.

Once again, the games this time around were better than last time, and are pretty consistent in quality. As always, I’m going to put all of the games into the 5 categories of the awesome-awful scale. Please note that these are based solely on my opinion, and may change to a different category as more games are introduced.

Awesome (I will play these again. Definitely recommended)
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Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi

Good (I will play these again. Recommended)
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Golden Axe
Crack Down
Bonanza Bros.
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair

Average (I might play these again. Somewhat recommended)
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Gain Ground
Phantasy Star II
The Revenge of Shinobi

Boring (I will never play these again. Only recommended if you’re a big fan of the genre)
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Altered Beast
Columns
Sword of Vermilion

Awful (I will never play these again. Cannot recommend to anyone)
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Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Super Thunder Blade

Next time I’ll continue with more of 1991 with Fatal Labyrinth, Galaxy Force II, Alien Storm, Decap Attack, and Flicky.
Click here for part 4!