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Capsule Reviews: Television and Movies (Legend of Korra, Babalas, etc.) Animation | Anime | Live-Action | My Reviews 23 APR 2014

I don’t really feel like typing up reviews any more, and in truth, I haven’t been doing so for a while. However, I do like coming back every couple of years to see if my thoughts on a particular movie or television show has subsequently changed (like how I found Love Hina hilarious the first time I watched it and then atrocious the subsequent time I tried to rewatch it), hence this quick capsule reviews.

The Legend of Korra [Season 2] (2013)

The second season, Book Two: Spirits, is set six months after the events of the first season, with Korra learning that restless spirits called Dark Spirits have been terrorizing the south seas. Feeling that she can not learn to calm the Dark Spirits through Tenzin, Korra turns to her uncle Unalaq, the Northern Water Tribe chief, for guidance. However, as civil war among the Water Tribe branches erupts from the Northern Tribe’s forced occupancy, Korra learns that the exile of her father Tonraq was arranged by Unalaq who is using her to achieve his own agenda. Which now means that Korra and her comrades will have to unite once more in order to put a stop to whatever it is that Unalaq is putting in motion!

As with the first season, I absolutely loved this second helping of the Legend of Korra. Fantastic animation and backdrops complement an intricately woven story that carries the right amounts of drama, action and of course humour when necessary. It’s a great blend of elements that then combines well with a fantastic voice cast and soundtrack, making for a very polished, and very enjoyable animated television show.

avatar the legend of korra backdrop

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

When time travel allows a past wrong to be righted for The Flash and his family, the ripples of the event prove disastrous as a fractured, alternate reality now exists where a Justice League never formed, and even Superman is nowhere to be found. Teaming with a grittier, more violent Dark Knight and Cyborg, Flash races to restore the continuity of his original timeline while this new world is ravaged by a fierce war between Wonder Woman’s Amazons and Aquaman’s Atlanteans.

Another hit addition to the DC Original Animated Movie stable, The Flashpoint Paradox is a slick and polished animated film with high production values, featuring a great story (loads of action, surprise character reveals, and plenty of drama), an excellent score and fantastic voice acting. I thoroughly enjoyed this animated outing and will definitely watch it again in the near future.

Community [Season 5] (2014)

Jeff Winger and most of the old study group find themselves back at Greendale, after failing to have made the cut in the real world following their graduation. Now on the committee to save Greendale from the various problems that always seem to land at its doorstep, the gang is at again as if they had never left… (though with one or two new faces thrown into the mix, mind you)

So the good news is that Dan Harmon is back. The bad news is that Community should probably not have returned after the third season. They continue to do the same thing over and over again, this time with a slightly tweaked cast, and to be honest, the humour is now very much stale. There is only so much that you can rely on meta-humor and pop culture references in order to make your show funny, and unfortunately this limit feels as very much as it has long since been reached. It’s a pity really to watch this show fizzle out just as much as it has. (Sigh, and to think I absolutely adored the first two seasons of it…)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine [Season 1] (2013)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a comedy television series set in New York, telling the story of a group of detectives in the Nine-Nine Precinct. With a new, by the book, Captain to please, these detectives should probably get themselves back into line – though to be fair, that’s not really how they do things in this particular precinct…

Definitely one of our favourite comedy television shows to sit down to at the moment, the acting team of Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Andre Braugher, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio and Chelsea Peretti do a fantastic job of bringing to life some very funny scripts, and with some clever writing and decent plotting to boot, it is no wonder that Chantelle and I can’t wait for the second season to come rolling in!

brooklyn nine-nine backdrop

Man of Steel (2013)

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

It is always a bad sign when you are forced to watch a movie over two sittings, and then fall asleep during both sessions. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is unfortunately a prime example of a comic book movie that just fails to have any real substance, in fact, making it par for the course when it comes to live action Superman films of recent years. Although the visuals and action sequences are stunning, the character development is non existent and thus one’s emotional attachment to the story is just not where it should be. It is a polished production to be sure, but I just didn’t like it, and the fact that they did a very un-Superman-like thing at the end did just enough for me to simply not have enjoyed the experience. Quite a pity really.

DC Super Villains Superman: Worlds At War! (2013)

This is a compilation disc pulling together episodes from Superman: The Animated Series (10 stories), plus 3 Superman-centric episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Everything is Darkseid and Apokolips based, meaning that naturally there is no surprise as to the flavour of the villain of the day for all the various stories.

Nevertheless, it is a good trip down memory lane if you haven’t seen any of the classic DC animated universe stuff for a long time, and pleasingly the quality of the story telling remains right up there. That said, chances of you not having seen this material before is pretty slim, and if by chance you haven’t in fact seen these before, then honestly you’d be better off purchasing the series DVD releases instead, because obviously they give more variety in the stories being told. Still, I did enjoy seeing these again…

Tiger & Bunny [Season 1] (2011)

In a futuristic city, people born with super abilities train to be Heroes, sponsored do-gooders that protect the city and fight crime for points, all in front of a cheering television audience. One of the older heroes, old fashioned, clumsy but with a will of steel, Wild Tiger is about to be assigned a brand new partner – the calculating and efficient Barnaby Brooks Jr. The thing is, Barnaby Brooks Jr. brings somewhat of a history with him – and its a mystery which both he and the old man will have to work together on in order to solve!

This is a difficult one. I’m a bit off anime these days, but I have to admit that overall I really did enjoy this show, despite its sometime over the top goofiness and silliness that at times threatened to derail the seriousness and drama of the story being told. The animation is a good blend of traditional and CG, and the action sequences are well choreographed, particularly the various fight scenes. However, the character models are sometimes a little too goofy for my liking. It’s an action ability-powered hero story at the heart of it all, and as such, delivers on the points that it is expected to, thus making for a watchable and relatively fun show at the end of the day. That said, I can’t ever see myself re-watching it any time in the near future…

tiger and bunny backdrop

Babalas (2013)

An events co-ordination company executive goes in search of the nostalgic Boet and Swaer from the old Castrol ads to lure them to a big gala event at Emperor’s Palace. What follows is a road trip of misadventure, fueled of course by copious amounts of alcohol – the good old fashioned South African way!

I hate to say it, but the trailer for this movie is what reeled me in – I definitely thought it could be funny and a bit of a trip down memory lane to see a movie revolving around old South African television adverts that used to air when I was growing up. Sadly, that was not the case, and this time around, the trailer is by far better than the movie itself. It’s not very funny, Jack Parow is really not an actor, and in short, I should probably just have picked up a Hollywood blockbuster instead. Still, I did rather enjoy the very cool South African soundtrack that accompanied this rather limp script…

Tiger & Bunny Cosplay: Blue Rose (Uchi Shima) Cosplay 21 MAR 2014

Tiger & Bunny’s Karina Lyle, better known as the hero Blue Rose, is expertly brought to life here by Japanese cosplayer Uchi Shima.

tiger and bunny cosplay blue rose by japanese cosplayer uchi shima 1

Nicknamed the “Super Celebrity of the Heroes”, Blue Rose is a highschooler with freezing powers who still lives with her parents and makes use of her heroic feats to boost her career as a singer. She also works as a pianist in bars under her real name.

Her revealing costume, which her father disapproves of, includes advertising for Pepsi NEX, a zero calorie Pepsi available in Japan developed by Suntory, a company who took part in the experiment which successfully produced the first true blue rose through genetic engineering, hence her alias and rose-themed uniform. She is also equipped with a monowheel-snowmobile vehicle, which she propels using her powers.

Despite claiming to dislike Kotetsu, Karina develops feelings for him, which causes her much internal conflict considering the age difference. After the one year time-skip, Karina is seen reading a book about how to win a single dad’s heart; seems she hasn’t given up.

At the insistence of her sponsor company and to her distaste, Blue Rose always tells criminals “my ice is a little bit cold, but your crime has been put completely on hold!” upon apprehending them. Karina has a habit of comically retreating from fights if they get too difficult for her, an act Hero TV’s announcer dubs the “Cutie Escape”.

In the films Tiger & Bunny: the Beginning and Tiger & Bunny: the Rising, her costume’s advertising replaces the Pepsi NEX ads for standard Pepsi logos. Her sponsor company is “Titan Industry”.

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Tiger & Bunny Cosplay: Blue Rose (Tasha) Cosplay 20 MAR 2014

Tiger & Bunny’s Karina Lyle, better known as the hero Blue Rose, is expertly brought to life here by popular Korean cosplayer and member of the Spiral Cats (SPCats) cosplay team, Tasha.

tiger and bunny cosplay blue rose by korean cosplayer spcats tasha 1

Nicknamed the “Super Celebrity of the Heroes”, Blue Rose is a highschooler with freezing powers who still lives with her parents and makes use of her heroic feats to boost her career as a singer. She also works as a pianist in bars under her real name.

Her revealing costume, which her father disapproves of, includes advertising for Pepsi NEX, a zero calorie Pepsi available in Japan developed by Suntory, a company who took part in the experiment which successfully produced the first true blue rose through genetic engineering, hence her alias and rose-themed uniform. She is also equipped with a monowheel-snowmobile vehicle, which she propels using her powers.

Despite claiming to dislike Kotetsu, Karina develops feelings for him, which causes her much internal conflict considering the age difference. After the one year time-skip, Karina is seen reading a book about how to win a single dad’s heart; seems she hasn’t given up.

At the insistence of her sponsor company and to her distaste, Blue Rose always tells criminals “my ice is a little bit cold, but your crime has been put completely on hold!” upon apprehending them. Karina has a habit of comically retreating from fights if they get too difficult for her, an act Hero TV’s announcer dubs the “Cutie Escape”.

In the films Tiger & Bunny: the Beginning and Tiger & Bunny: the Rising, her costume’s advertising replaces the Pepsi NEX ads for standard Pepsi logos. Her sponsor company is “Titan Industry”.

Continue reading

Tiger & Bunny Cosplay Quickie: Blue Rose (Uchi Shima) Cosplay 07 MAR 2012

Karina Lyle, aka Blue Rose is a highschooler with freezing powers who still lives with her parents and makes use of her heroic feats to boost her career as a singer. Japanese cosplayer Uchi Shima squeezes into her far too revealing for a high school girl costume for today’s cosplay quickie. (And in case you are feeling a little lost, this is from the entertaining Tiger & Bunny anime series.)

Review: Devil May Cry 4 Games | My Reviews 22 MAR 2010

Hands up if you were a fan of the trigger-happy button masher on steroids that was Devil May Cry 3, featuring everyone’s favourite son of Sparda come Demon Hunter, Dante? Yes? Well I absolutely loved it and I’m happy to say that Devil May Cry 4 kicks off exactly from the level set by Devil May Cry 3 and then raises the bar just that little – Oh and it even looks a whole lot prettier this time around!

For this outing the story follows a man other than Dante, a young trouble-maker with a itching for a fight and a demonic hand to match, who just happens to be in the employ of the Order of the Sword that currently worships Sparda as the saviour of its people. Nero is however drawn into an unlikely conflict as demons are unleashed upon the world once again and at the same time, a mysterious man in red appears to murder the Order’s leader and spiritual guide Sanctus. With only the safety of his beloved Kyrie in his mind, Nero accepts the challenge and enters the fray – though the extent of the deception and danger that still awaits him has yet to fully reveal itself!

Released in 2008 from makers Capcom, Devil May Cry 4 slips snuggly in the same fast-paced 3rd person, hack and slash gameplay of its predecessors, though it brings a new element into play thanks to Nero’s Devil Bringer demonic grappling arm. Again we have the fixed camera locations, the industrial metal soundtrack, the over the top sound effects, screams and one-liners, a variety of some fairly strangely designed demons together with a LOT of very cool, well executed CG cutscenes to take in.

Ice demons can just be so cold, you know?

In terms of gameplay, you get to experience the game controlling both Nero and Dante through the course of the game, though it is without a doubt that this new upstart Nero is the main protagonist from stage 1. Armed with both a ranged gun attack as well as a sword attack, Nero gets the added grappling abilities gifted through his Devil Bringer arm, a new gameplay mechanic and one that actually elevates the Devil May Cry experience and actually makes Nero more fun to play with than Dante himself! In terms of Dante, you have access to the same abilities and styles as from Devil May Cry 3, meaning you still have your various guns and swords available to you to switch through as you like (though now you can switch between all at a simple button press during a stage whenever you want), plus the added four styles of Trickster, Gunslinger, Swordmaster and Royal Guard to play with.

Both Nero and Dante have access to a Devil Trigger ability that when activated grants them a cool new look, increased power and abilities and also a slow health regeneration boost. As for the actually running around and playing, the pace is still frenetic as you jump, hack and slash away at enemies to eventually reveal over the top, larger than life boss characters and of course obtain those all important red orbs that can be used to upgrade your weapons and abilities at designated divinity statues and stage begin menus. As before, the style system is in place to judge your overall score on a particular stage as well as the amount of orbs dropped from defeated enemies, meaning that it is in your best interest to constantly switch between attacks and avoid get hits – all in order to reach that sought after Smokin’ Sick Style (SSS) ranking!

Visually Devil May Cry 4 is as polished a game as what you could hope for. Character models are well detailed, special effect are beautiful to behold and the character animations and movement is smooth and shows off all the right visuals. Of course, no Devil May Cry game would be complete without beautifully rendered and often over the top CG cutscenes and I’m pleased to report that DMC4 has these dripping in abundance, complete with those crazy Dante performance that you got used to witnessing the last time round in this particular franchise.

In terms of difficulty, DMC4 is not overly aggressive and will actually dumb down boss characters should you find yourself on a game over screen just one too many times. Also, because the red orb and experience point accumulation is exactly that, accumulated, it means that you’ll keep levelling up even if you keep losing, meaning that eventually you should be able to make your way through to the end. Most of the boss fights are pretty simple to work out and give a decent challenge, but be warned that the final battle has a trick to it that you’ll need to think around in order to beat it (Devil Bringer – it’s all I’m going to say!)

Aurally Devil May Cry 4 delivers the good exactly as what you would expect from a AAA title, featuring a beautiful and haunting soundtrack mixed in with some frenetic and hardcore riffs during the fight scenes. Voice acting is top notch and for the most part there is very little to complain about.

In summary, Capcom’s MT Framework game engine is once again responsible for bringing to life a superb entry in the fast-paced, button bashing and trigger happy hack and slash genre that is difficult to put down and even harder not to enjoy. It is satisfying building up style points, getting good ratings for levels and eventually beating the game. It looks good, sounds good and plays smoothly, making it a firm favourite of mine – in other words, pick it up if you are a fan of this genre… you won’t go wrong! :)

(Just a tip though. In order to unlock the secret game ending cutscene, you need to protect Kyrie and basically ensure she doesn’t take a hit. Not go after the bad guys like I did. Doh!)

Demon bosses. They're generally on the big side

A dragon... flower... seed-flinging demon boss? Don't ask.

I'm really not lying when I say that the bosses really are on the big side at times!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_May_Cry_4